Everyday Life Series

I spent 7 hours in the car yesterday driving home from a 2-week work trip. Much of the drive was in pretty heavy traffic.

I rarely listen to the radio when driving. Most of the time I listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Yesterday was no different. I spent most of the drive listening to an audiobook on communication techniques for women. While deep in thought on how much space I take up in meetings my mind drifted to an earlier frustration I had while driving…the space people take up on the road.

I almost always leave a gap in front of me of ~3-5 seconds (space cushion) in case the car in front of me stops quickly or swerves. This space ends up big enough for another vehicle to squeeze into.

Which they inevitably do.

I can’t count the number of times yesterday that I thought “that space is not for you” as the scenario below happened over and over.

I am in the fast lane in a line of cars, leaving the space cushion. Someone tailgates for a few minutes then passes me (in the slow lane) and slides into the space I left. I slow down to leave a space again…rinse and repeat.

I am not sure what those people hope to gain by getting one more car ahead. Perhaps it makes them feel more in control? I could go down a rabbit hole of psychology…but I digress.

I thought about the life lesson in this process. I was tempted several times to not back off and leave a gap again. Because that would teach them a lesson? No, that would just put me in danger.

Doing the right thing does not hinge on what other people are doing or what other people are thinking.

This is true on the road and in life.

Everyday Life Series consists of short, daily lessons and stories from my life.

2 thoughts on “Space Cushion

  1. “Doing the right thing does not hinge on what other people are doing or what other people are thinking.” I love that statement. Definitely something to reflect on daily. Thank you for another great post.


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