EDITORIAL: Blasting through summer

We all get a bit hot under the collar in traffic, but blaring your horn at other drivers doesn’t help

When we say, “have a blast this summer,” what we mean is go for a hike, hang out on the beach, join friends for a barbecue, see a movie under the stars or rock out at an outdoor concert.

That last item is a pretty decent place to start this year, with the launch of Concerts for the Pier last Thursday. Frankly, the music makes a nice break from that other seemingly endless symphony we here at Peace Arch News have been listening to – the blasting of car horns.

It’s likely no worse here than in other parts of Metro Vancouver, but from our vantage point above a busy 24 Avenue intersection, drivers’ growing impatience with one another – and, less overtly, with pedestrians – is clearly a serious issue.

Seldom does much time pass in a workday without a honk or two from a motorist, impatient to make a turn or, alternatively, upset that some other equally impatient driver has cut them off.

If a motorist chooses not to use their front tire to trim the toenails, or shave skin off the heels, of a pedestrian, this can, it seems, be taken as a personal affront to the guy waiting behind them.

Usually, such an infraction elicits a tap or two on the horn. Occasionally, however, there is clearly a more pressing point to be made, which can only be accomplished by an extended blast of 5 or more seconds.

We get it. Everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere, whether it’s to work in the morning, back home in the evening, an important appointment or the kids’ soccer practice.

There are more vehicles on the road nowadays, more demands on our time and tighter schedules to meet. The result is an ever-growing sense of urgency and annoyance.

But, really, what’s to be gained by venting our frustrations at each other? From inside the protective bubbles of our vehicles we’re less inhibited and tend to behave far more aggressively toward strangers than we would ever dare do to their face. Does that barrier somehow make it OK?

For a new driver, or anyone who might already be a bit stressed behind the wheel – and is consequently driving with added caution – getting honked at repeatedly is not going to help matters. In fact, it’s likely to have the opposite effect.

As the mercury rises, we all get a little hot under the collar. But when frustrations arise on the road, instead of laying on the horn, why not think instead about all the fun and relaxing ways there are to spend the long summer evenings and sunny weekends – that is, when you’re not stuck in traffic.

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