It seems like each year I have to add another item or two to the “I’m not quite sure when” list. Apparently, the decade of “defensive driving” is a current candidate. I believe it was the Seventies and if I wasn’t so cotton-picking lazy, I could probably look it up on the internet. Or I could use the Seventies’ version of the internet and ask a few other people. Since that particular nugget of knowledge is not really indispensable to my purposes at the moment, I’ll just convince myself it was the Seventies and proceed onward until some alternate truth persuades me otherwise.
The concept of defensive driving was to be always alert to the fact that some other driver on the road could at any moment do something totally stupid, unexpected and decidedly inconvenient if not outright homicidal. Being watchful for an oncoming vehicle to suddenly make a left turn right in front of you, you would already have your foot poised above the brake pedal and could slam on the brakes quickly enough to keep you from T-boning said vehicle.
Hopefully, the drivers behind you were equally alert and driving defensively and would thereby avoid you triggering a chain reaction pileup. Instead there would merely be a whole line of drivers suddenly muttering vague obscenities and wondering what fool had started this particular escapade.
I’m not sure what the summary judgment was as to the large scale effectiveness of the defensive driving campaign. I do know that to this day I am usually watchful and occasionally prepared for the unexpected shenanigans of some other humanoid sharing the motorways. And would have to admit that sometimes I’m the one triggering vague obscenities.
I suppose at some level of the defensive driving concept there is an awareness that we are all flawed, all subject to occasional lapses in judgment, all capable of making mistakes that sometimes carry critical consequences. I find it therefore necessary that I must also help guard myself and my fellow sojourners from my own manifestations of human frailty and occasional outright idiocy. If I can defend the world against my own bad choices by making good ones instead, then I will have contributed to the welfare of others.
It seems that walking in love, grace and wisdom might be a mighty fine start.