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What do Orlando drivers say about our culture?

David Brooks’ column in the New York Times hits the nail on the head about our driving culture. The article, inspired by Pope Francis’ New Year’s Eve homily, reminds us that we as individuals shape society with our actions and reactions. One situation that plays a huge role is driving.

“As Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution points out, driving is precisely the sort of everyday activity through which people mold the culture of their community.” Think of the different situations you encounter while driving – when someone is trying to merge onto I-4 from the busy 408, do you let them in? When you’re driving on a busy road and traffic backs up into the intersection, do you proceed forward so that cars coming in the opposite direction are blocked when it’s their turn to drive? Your response is teaching the other drivers (locals and visitors) how “things are around here.”

Sometimes, these situations play out in very dangerous scenarios: when you see a person walking across the street (crosswalk or not), do you stop to let them safely cross? When a bicyclist is pedaling in the bike lane just ahead of you, do you give them at least three feet when passing? These actions dictate the driving culture in different cities everywhere.

Think about it: why do drivers in Seattle look out for people walking, while Orlando drivers don’t? What does this say about our driving culture?

Check out the full opinion piece from the New York Times here.

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