The other day I was caught in some downtown traffic on a rare day when we had snow in Vancouver. It was pretty tense and tight and then it got even tenser and tighter when there was an unexpected lane merge. And I was in the wrong lane. My hands gripped the wheel; my shoulders tensed - I hate tight merges. During rush hour. In the snow.
And then, just as I started to get all worked up, a car in the other lane slowed and the woman driving it made a big sweeping gesture, ushering me into her lane.
Relief washed over me. I smiled, waved a big thank you and pulled into the lane.
That lovely gesture really made my whole afternoon and it got me to thinking how the smallest things can turn a whole day around. Especially when we're driving. Driving can be stressful, even for the most experienced among us. These small kind gestures go a long way towards making the road a friendlier and ultimately safer place.
Monday, February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day. When we're out on the road on Monday, let's all agree to go the extra mile and be kind when we drive. A while back, we asked our fans over on the Petro-Canada Facebook page to suggest some "Live by the Leaf" courtesy driving tips. Some of them are perfect examples of a random act of driving kindness:
- In a construction zone, smile and wave at the signal person.
- Leave a gap, when stopped at a light, for vehicles to enter from the side streets.
- When the gas station is busy and two of us pull into the pump at the same time, wave and let the other person go first.
- Give a big "Thank You!" wave when someone lets me into a busy lane.
- Move over into the empty left lane to make way for cars to merge on the right.
- Leave the closest parking spots for those with mobility issues or young children.
- Switch lanes if there is a cyclist traveling ahead. It gives them more room and helps other drivers see them too.
- When you're leaving a busy parking lot and people are cruising for spots, wave and indicate you're leaving and that your spot will be available.
- Pay for the coffee order for the car behind you in the drive-thru.
Any of these resonate with you? Even if your "thank you wave" is just extra big, I hope you'll join me in committing a few random acts of driving kindness on Monday. Maybe it will even become a habit!