Road rage has recently escalated in a display of violent incidents in Israel. One person was murdered at a pedestrian crossing for making a remark at a motorcycle driver, and in another incident, a driver threatened to kill another driver and then sprayed him with pepper spray. In a recent survey, 50 percent of the public stated that they witnessed violence on Israel’s streets, a number that was 20 percent just a few years ago.
Where are such escalations of violence leading us? We can reach states where we head into the streets as if we head into a jungle, with no idea whether we will return home because we might get eaten alive. We see how everyone sits in their vehicles with no consideration for others, wanting to treat others as if they were their slaves.
It is a matter of attitude. An attitude of mutual understanding, responsibility and closeness would obviously dramatically decrease road rage and its outbursts.
Take a common scenario for many people: You’re driving. You’re late to work. The traffic jam seems to get worse each day, making it take you longer and longer to get to work. You’re aggravated, and someone suddenly cuts you off.
What should you do? Very simply: you should give way to them out of love for them.
“What!?” you ask. “What could they possibly have that I should love!?”
They are your fellow human beings. And if you’re angry that the other driver should also act lovingly toward you and not cut you off, then you should think about how they depend on your example—and give them a proper example of how to behave.
We live in an era that demands our self-transformation. Today’s tightening interdependence in human society makes us responsible for one another. Therefore, our shift to a better world depends on the extent to which we feel, think and act out of our mutual responsibility.
In practice, we need to realize our mutual responsibility first by taking care not to harm others, that we first and foremost consider the safety and well-being of others. We can become accustomed to a state of mutual responsibility the more we absorb this idea and examples of its behavior from our surrounding environment.
If we saw that our own child sat behind the wheel of every car we encountered on the roads, then we would indeed behave differently. We would no longer worry about being late for work. We would instead care for the people around us, and the more such mutual care would spread, the more harmonious and peaceful our world would become.
We should thus try to see our loved one or our close friend in every driver on the street, and more generally, in every person.