One of the first things I learned when I moved to the Valley in 2015 was that you can get to a lot of big cities from here in about 3 hours.

It’s true. New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. can each be reached in just under or over that time, depending on where you’re going. 

Three hours isn’t exactly a walk around the block, but now that my wife Mary and I have to drive eight-plus hours to visit our grandsons in North Carolina, it’s starting to feel even shorter.

Time on the road can be tedious. It can also make you wonder about the thought processes of some of the folks with whom you are sharing the road.

Try to go 70 or even 75 miles per hour on the stretches of I-80 where 70 is the limit, and you’re almost certain to find someone — or several someones — close on your tail. I’ll admit I used to be stubborn when this happened, but I learned to just move over, shake my head and continue forward.

Unless, of course, there is a truck or line of trucks in the right lane and I can’t move over to let that driver zoom by. It can get pretty tense when a driver stays on your tail when you’ve got nowhere to go.

Another shake-my-head situation comes when highway traffic, due to construction or an accident, is directed to go from two lanes down to one. There’s almost certain to be someone who won’t be satisfied with the every-other-car approach and looks to cut in ahead of you. 

Those are just two of the multiple lack of driving etiquette issues that make me cringe.

Courtesy on the road may seem like a small world problem. But I think its symptomatic of a bigger issue we face here and nationwide these days.

Too often we don’t treat each other with the respect and kindness everyone deserves. Too often, like those drivers on my tail, we let our careless or mean-spirited thoughts drive us in an unfortunate direction.

I’m thinking more and more these days how badly we need to shift into a kinder, more human gear in dealing with each other — whoever we are and whatever path we’re traveling.

I read a story on Friday from the Times-Union in Albany — an interview piece by reporter Amy Biancolli with former CBS news anchor Dan Rather, in advance of his appearance at the University of Albany.

Rather spoke about being a “heroic citizien.” 

“Coming into work today,” he said, “I thought, ‘What can I do today that can help some other person.’ Even in small — even in tiny ways — you can make yourself a herioc citizen.”

Sometimes, all that takes is just being nice or courteous to someone. Or speaking up when sombody else isn’t.

We had an editorial on this topic on Friday. If you missed it, it’s available at https://bit.ly/2lVNHt8.

Please give it a read if you get a chance. 

Email comments to dlyons@dailyitem.com

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