Life is not an emergency

Two weekends ago, 9 people died in car crashes in the Central Florida area.  9 people in one weekend.  A spokesperson for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said that most of the accidents were caused by aggressive or distracted drivers.

And while it is shocking to hear that 9 people died in car fatalities within a two-day period of time in a single metropolitan area, it is not altogether shocking to hear the reasons why.

Our roadways have become a dumping ground.  Not for our trash or unused items — well, there is that, too — but for our energy and emotions.  Whatever semblance of kindness and compassion we claim to feel towards each other seems to mysteriously vanish the moment we place ourselves behind the steering wheel of our cars.

But why is this?

What is this phenomenon?

When we gather in a shopping mall, we do not behave this way.   Do we?

When we pass people on the sidewalk, we do not behave this way.  Do we?

When we attend functions our local communities, we do not behave this way.  Do we?

So why are we engaging in the kinds of behaviors in our vehicles which contributed to 9 people no longer being on this planet with us?

Sure, there are occasions in our lives when emergencies arise that cause us to feel rushed, stressed, hurried, pushed, and pulled.  But I am sensing that more and more people are living their lives as though the entire experience of their life is one big unsettled emergency.  We frantically scurry from appointment to appointment.  We enroll our children in more activities than they can reasonably enjoy or maintain.  We intrude on our much-needed hours of sleep to be more productive in our days.  We say “yes” when we really truly want to say “no.”  And then, when we can no longer sustain such a fever-pitch level, what do we do?  We flood our bodies with caffeine and sugar and other stimulants so that we can do more and more and more.

Like I said earlier, it is not shocking to hear that people are driving aggressively and distractedly, relying on the anonymity of their vehicles provide a place for the fallout of overloaded and hectic minds.

Why are we in such a hurry?  Where are we really trying to go?  Who are we actually trying to beat?  And if we think we know who it is we are trying to beat, what is it we are trying to beat them at?

And perhaps the most important question of all:  What does the long-term picture look like for our planet if we continue at this pace?

If life is not one big unsettled emergency, then what is it?

Your thoughts?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation and lives in Orlando, Florida.  To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

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  • Christopher Toft

    Oh my god! I was out with friends & family on Sunday evening and we saw this guy in a fit of “road rage” jump on this man’s car bonnet & literally hang on while the car was moving towards the traffic lights, hammering angrily on the window. When the car stopped, whoever was in it was obviously terrified to get out and confront this person. The traffic was held up for about 5 minutes before the police arrived and both the car and the assailant hastily departed. What was that about?? Had the angry guy had a bad day? Had his wife left him or had he lost his job? I agree with you Lisa, there seems to be this situation where underlying anxiety or pain is acted out on our roads. It seems to come out in nervous energy and the need to “hurry”.

    • My family and friends laugh at me because I leave the house so extraordinarily early for my appointments, sometimes arriving a half hour before I am required to. But that is my conscious contribution to a more peaceful commute – for me and for all those around me. If I don’t offer that energy to the driving experience, then I could very likely end up being part of the “problem.” Even a tiny bit of hurriedness or anxiety throws energy into the mix. That must have been a frightening sight to see, Christopher. They are all reminders, aren’t they? It’s so wonderful to hear your thoughts.

      • Christopher Toft

        Yes it was quite upsetting & disturbing. I like your solution!

      • If you look beneath all this you may just see someone who has a lot of self importance attached to themselves & thus, that self importance leaves out others as well as their own personal peace. They take themselves way too seriously.

        I think leaving real early is a bit rooted in fear & caution, if it works for you well cool. I listen to my feelings & if I’m running late I move into the “I wonder how this is going to work out mode.” Sometimes being late means you are actually early, sometimes being late means you are on time. Some times being late means your late & guess what? The world keeps spinning.


      • Kristen

        My family, friends AND KIDS laugh at me cause I drive at the speed limit and keep a safe stopping distance in front of me! But I live in the flow, one day at a time, so never make appointments as I never need them, so I guess this eliminates any sense of urgency and stress on the roads. Too much traffic – go later. Simple!!

  • Blake

    Road Rage is a result of violence germinating from violence in the movie industry, video game industry, TV, media and the Pornography industries. People view driving as a violent sporting event that what is in front of them are idiots, fools, incompetent assholes that do not drive like they do.

    In every violent movie there is a chase scene, in every violent video game there is a power struggle, in all the News programs there is war and destruction, in porn there is deviant, violent, rape scenes with powerful men and submissive women.

    It’s no wonder that there isn’t more road rage murders with automobiles. Ford was the first weapons distributor in this country not Smith and Wesson. Guns don’t kill people, cars do.
    This is why it is important to be spiritually fit. Blessing the guy that cuts you off is more powerful than chasing after him.


    • “Blessing the guy that cuts you off is more powerful than chasing after him.”

      I think this is a very powerful choice, Blake. Aggressive driving seems to be an equal-opportunity affliction. I’ve seen plenty of mini-van-driving moms, with their precious children strapped in car seats, speeding, tailgating, weaving, texting-while-driving. It just causes me to stop and wonder why we are making life so hard and why we are so glaringly projecting those frustrations onto the others around us.

  • Debra O’Bryant Haworth

    Just knowing there are volatile people in the cars around me make me cautious and aware of my energy. I try projecting calm around me and in me, and hoping that contributes somewhat.

  • Michael L

    I drive for a living. Ok maybe it’s not a living ,but it is a way to challenge my day, each and every day. After years of practicing the Zen mood, which for me does not work in the least.
    I just let all interruptions flow as it will and to meeting new folks in their closed (car) environments, who are doing their own thing.
    So how can I disturb them as they disturb me? They are me living their lives, over there physically, but not spiritually. They are just not aware I am them too spiritually. Can’t hate the uninformed. Don’t hate anyone, and Do Love what shows up, all of it.
    To give the folks in the other cars so much intent then just living in their little world is giving away your power to love them as you.

    “And if we think we know who it is we are trying to beat, what is it we are trying to beat them at?”
    To much power,,,, folks are just living like you and me. We just meet at times on the road of life going different paths.