I have always been very conscientious about traffic laws, even as a kid. I never knew exactly WHY I wanted to drive the speed limit, make complete stops, actually slowing down at yellow lights, etc., other than the fact that I liked following rules, but lately, I’ve been doing some serious thinking, praying, and research in regards to this topic. I’ve narrowed my findings down to five “short” sections: Save Gas, Save Money, Save Your License, Save a Life, and Save a Soul. This may all sounds crazy, but bear with me.
Save Gas: I have had many friends make excuses for speeding by saying that it’s more fuel efficient, but New York’s traffic safety website says otherwise, “You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas. See www.fueleconomy.gov for more on this.” Why drive over the speed limit if you’re only wasting your gas and gaining very little time? Another website says, “While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.17 per gallon for gas.”
Waste not want not.
Save Money: If you are pulled over by a police officer for speeding, you could have to pay thousands of dollars in fines. You
may be saying, “What if I never get caught?” and to that, I reply, but what if…? There are times in life when those “what if?” statements really bog you down, but they CAN be helpful. Maybe that little statement is your conscience, desperately trying to get you to slow down. What if today is the day you get a ticket? Or you get into an accident?
Save your License: If you drive more than 40 mph above the speed limit, your license can, and WILL, get suspended. Most people don’t have a problem with driving THAT fast (because, come on people, that’s ridiculous), so I won’t harp on this point.
Save a Life: Think about this, every time you drive over the speed limit just because you’re running a few minutes late, it’s like saying, “I care more about arriving slightly less late than for your safety. Imagine yourself saying that to EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU PASS when you’re speeding. The same can be said for breaking any number of traffic laws, including but not limited to, cutting people off, passing on the right, not making complete stops as stop signs, texting while driving, drinking and driving, running red and yellow lights, and not stopping at the correct stop line at a light.
Save a Soul: This section will be broken down into two categories: Help Save YOUR Soul, and Help Save OTHERS’ Souls. Here’s just a little bit of food for thought. First of all, the Catholic Church teaches that we should obey ALL civil laws UNLESS they contradict the laws of the Church. To break a civil law (no matter how small and seemingly insignificant), could be a venial sin. What does it take for something to be sinful? An act must be committed freely, with intention and full knowledge of its wrongness. Therefore, if you know that speeding is wrong, and yet you freely choose to do it for no good reason, couldn’t that be considered sinful?
Don’t speed. Save your soul.
What about those times when someone is tailgating with impatience? Or shouts angry things to you? Or cuts you off? Amen, amen, I say to you, you are not controlled by the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others. Live the truth, and they will SEE the truth. When you feel awkward, humiliated, and intimidated by other people, PRAY FOR THEM. When someone cuts you off and it makes you really angry, pray for him; maybe he’s distracted because his mom just died. When someone is tailgating; pray for her; maybe she’s in labor, trying desperately to get to the hospital. Maybe they’re all just impatient. PRAY FOR THEM. Not only will prayer bring YOU patience, it may bring THEM patience. What if you convert the nation by actually following its laws? Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Don’t speed. Save the world.
I would like to set a challenge for all of you who read my blog (including myself): this week, as an extra prayer for Holy Week, follow ALL of the traffic laws, even the most menial and tedious. If you don’t feel the positive changes in your attitude by Easter Sunday, call me a liar and revert to your old ways… or give it another try. Be patient. Be kind. BE LOVE.