Auto Communication

I’ve never been much of a driver. From the beginning, I was not in a rush to get my license. I learned for functional purposes.

When moving from point A to point B, I generally prefer to be a passenger whenever possible. Be it by plane, train, or automobile, I enjoy time spent on the road, traveling alone, surrounded by strangers. On the road is where I do some of my best thinking. It’s right up there with the thinking I do while washing dishes or folding laundry.

If we were having this conversation a year ago, I might have told you I hate driving. But with more time spent behind the wheel over the past year – for functional purposes – I’ve seen the finer sides of driving, and appreciate it for the different type of quality time it provides for me, myself, and I.

While on a 2+ hour drive just yesterday, I got to thinking about driving as one of the most solitary social activities I know.

There’s something about the focused solitude of driving, especially when driving for distance. Yet there is a slightly interesting social aspect. On the one hand you’re completely cut off from everyone else – at least verbally – yet everybody’s in it together.

As drivers, we don’t talk, but we do interact. It starts with the car we drive – the color, shape, and make – to how we change lanes, the speed at which we drive, the way we maneuver with more cars around, and how we accommodate others. This all contributes to our driving personality or attitude, a reflection of us. Naturally, this may fluctuate and even change over time.

I had an interesting conversation with someone today, who told me how her driving job changed her. With a significant influx in alone time, she had a great opportunity to think and reflect. With more frequent and longer stretches behind the wheel, she more closely observed how others drove and  how she drove, which led her to consider, “what kind of a driver am I?”

She was not aggressive and thought of herself as a rather courteous driver. But after she started driving for a living she chose to be more proactively courteous. Why be that driver when she could be even more go with the flow?

So what kind of driver are you? Beyond getting from A to B, what does does driving do for you? And what does your driving communicate about you to others?

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