Who Cut Off Who?

How spiritual are you when you get cut off on the freeway?

DrivingIn recent months, I have heard that phrase “cut off” so frequently and seen people listening nod their heads in recognition that I started to wonder what that meant. I don’t see that happening around me.

Granted, I don’t drive the freeway much. I don’t like the higher speeds any more. In fact, I don’t really like driving. It’s just a necessity. When I had heard “cut off” a few times, I thought, “What the heck do they mean by being cut off?”

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it until writing this, but I just went to YouTube.com and searched for “Cut off on the road” and found lots of examples of people cutting in front of other drivers in an unsafe, sudden way. I’m glad that doesn’t happen around me or to me! And I’d like it to stay that way, thank you very much!

But weeks ago, I was questioning what it meant. Well, be careful what you ask for. Because I got cut off several times since asking that question. Enough that I am saying, “OK. I get it! You can stop answering that question now!”

But Being Cut Off Meant Something Different To Me.

don't cut off merger on freewayThis is what I call being cut off on the freeway: I cannot get to my exit because as I am merging into the correct lane, a driver speeds up and passes me on the right, cutting off my access to the exit.

I mean, with a mile or less to go, the person behind me in that lane speeds up just enough for long enough that I cannot get over and I cannot safely get to the exit. Basically, s/he is oblivious to my turn signal.

I know that turn signals are a pretty rare thing on the freeway, so maybe other drivers aren’t tuned in to seeing them. Or maybe he was just being rude. Most of the examples I saw on YouTube were done by drivers who were oblivious.

Maybe It’s Me.

dumbfoundedDo they think I’m cutting them off by wanting to merge into their lane? I’m not going fast or suddenly. So when it happened once, I figured, I just need to start my merge sooner. But I was again cut off a few more times in the next 2 weeks, even when I attempted to change lanes WAY in advance. I even had trouble getting into the lane for a whole mile before my exit. That’s just weird. And I don’t remember ever having this problem before.

Thus my thought, “Be careful what you ask for.”

Not just the freeway

don't cut off mergerThen it happened on a surface road in a smallish town on a 2-lane one-way street, with an occasional 3rd lane for left turn. I was in the left lane because I had just turned left onto the one-way street. I had about 6 blocks before I needed to make a right turn onto a side street. I saw an opening a few blocks before my turn, and signaled and moved over.

But the guy in that lane sped up when I was halfway into his lane. I glanced back in my rear view mirror where I see him looking very perturbed and and saying something I couldn’t hear.

Here’s a YouTube example of a driver who should have slowed down when after his first attempt to merge in front of a motorcycle he obviously didn’t see. Personally, if I was driving the motorcycle, I would have backed off since the car weighs a lot more.

So who cut off who?

I had used my signal for a few seconds, and then moved because there was plenty of room. He obviously wasn’t paying attention or he would not have sped up when I was halfway in his lane. And I am certain by his expression that he thinks I cut him off. But from my perspective, he cut me off because he sped up when I was already a partially in his lane.

Maybe he was looking for an address and not watching traffic, or maybe he was distracted another way. But I had to think that this is all perspective. So if I ever feel like someone cut me off, I can check myself. Was I paying attention in the past minute?

Both Sides Now

It reminds me to look at situations from all perspectives. I may think I am right. And the other person undoubtedly thinks that they are right. Maybe we are both right. And there can still be conflicts. It’s how I handle it that counts. Which was the point all those speakers and writers were making.

How About You?

How do you define being “cut off on the road” and what do you do?