Creative Thinking: Idiots behind the wheel

Updated 16 November 2012
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Creative Thinking: Idiots behind the wheel

A couple of days ago I read an article on “Arab News” that started with these words: “The Higher Committee for Traffic Safety is embarking on the first stage of its plan to tackle the trouble spot of the city where the accident rate is dangerously above average”. This encouraged me to write about a topic (causes for car accidents) that has been troubling me for a long time.
Therefore today … I am going to “rant”. Yes, I am. There is one kind of people, in fact, I just cannot be lenient with: reckless drivers. I cannot be lenient because they seems “willingly unaware” (a contradiction in terms, I know, but here it “is” the case) of the potential danger they are continuously exposing innocent individuals to (beside themselves, but this is “their” problem).
As I spend quite some time in the car every day, I have ample opportunity to first-handedly observe the behavior of those who deserve to be called “idiots behind the wheel”. The other day, while waiting at a traffic light, my driver drew my attention toward a young man who, to our right, was making his big vehicle literally climb over the traffic island, partition between the two lanes. I couldn’t help looking at him with wide open eyes and the “idiot”... smiled! He must have felt very proud of himself and was probably anticipating the joy of telling his peers about such prowess. He was on the service road and could not wait to reach the next opening to find his way into the main street. He was too smart for that. He had to go against all traffic rules and against all sensible reasoning and jump into the lane where he was not allowed to be. He was “super-driver”! I wondered if he expected an applause for his superior cleverness.
But the kind of individuals I am most biased toward are the smart guys who cut a red light. These are the epitome, or perfect example, of imbecility because they demonstrate how inferior their mind is compared to the normal, acceptable standard of any human brain. The red light tells you to stop because other cars have now the right to come forward from another direction. But the smart guy cannot wait. His business is so important that a few seconds are going to change his life! It may very well change it by precipitating him into a major accident that will possibly mean his own and other, innocent people’s death. But, no! This will never happen to “him”, because he is too smart, he can see what is going on from all sides, he “knows” how to drive a car. Therefore, when he reaches the crossroad and sees the yellow light, instead of slowing down he puts his foot on the accelerator and happily crosses away, while every other car is meekly stopping. But this is not the worst, even!. Many a times have I witness smart guys fly away, when the light has already been red for several seconds! Last night I counted up to four cars, one after the other, doing just that.
At this point, every single time, I wish we had a kind of “911” number that a concerned citizen could call and wait for a police car to materialize after just a few minutes. If such possibility “were” available, I would gladly assume the task of writing down as many plate numbers as I could. I would feel I was fulfilling my duty as a responsible and reliable citizen, which I believe I am.
All this said, is there a way to use Creative Positive Thinking to overcome the upset of having to bear such view more than once “every single day”? It is not an easy task even for a hard-core believer like me. What I try to do, after overcoming the first unstoppable upset, is to “pity” the idiot behind the wheel. No matter if he is young, old, intelligent, average, rich, poor....There is no excuse for his behavior. He can only be pitied because he is totally irresponsible and he doesn’t realize it. Nevertheless, he doesn’t deserve to be in a car in the driver’s seat. Rather, he should be put in a situation where he could physically and emotionally experience the result of someone else’s reckless driving. This might help. Who knows? But, anyway... who is going to do it?

P.S. I need to add that last night I saw a police officer single handedly driving a police car while speaking on his cell phone. I forgot to check if he had his seat-belt on, though!

E-mail: [email protected]
Blog: recreateyourlifetoday.blogspot.com


Unmapped roads raise risk to Southeast Asian rainforests — study

An aerial photo of a road running through an palm plantation in Dumai, Riau, Sumatra island, Indonesia. (Antara Foto/Rony Muharrman/via REUTERS/File)
Updated 2 min 6 sec ago
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Unmapped roads raise risk to Southeast Asian rainforests — study

  • Researcher Alice Hughes found that roads have penetrated areas previously considered untouched and unreachable by vehicles.
  • An average of 75 percent of roads in five countries were missing from OpenStreetMap (OSM), a mapping platform widely used by researchers and academics.

KUALA LUMPUR: Forests in parts of Southeast Asia face greater threats than previously thought because researchers often rely on data that ignores new roads, which are precursors to deforestation and development, a study shows.
The paper, published this month by the journal Biological Conservation, showed that an average of 75 percent of roads in five countries were missing from OpenStreetMap (OSM), a mapping platform widely used by researchers and academics.
“Large-scale forest clearance is preceded by the growth of road networks, which provide a stark warning for the region’s future,” the study said.
Author Alice Hughes, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, studied a total of 277,281 square kilometers by analyzing satellite images and maps showing forest loss and coverage, as well as agriculture concessions.
She found that roads have penetrated areas previously considered untouched and unreachable by vehicles.
“We are deluding ourselves that we still have large tracts of inaccessible, pristine forest, when the reality is highly-fragmented, very accessible forests,” Hughs said on Friday.
Her research examined road networks in parts of Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
“In some parts of the region, up to 99 percent of roads on those global maps, which are used as the basis for a huge amount of further analysis, are not included,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Deforestation and development of forests in the area studied have occurred at a rapid pace since 2000, said Hughes, while maps used by researchers do not regularly update their road data.
“Most of the time these roads are just providing access to forests and up to 99 percent of deforestation is within 2.5 km of road,” she said. “They are clearly the access method.”
She added that the region urgently needs better protection and enforcement for its remaining forests.
Indonesia, which is the world’s biggest palm oil producer, introduced a forest clearing moratorium in 2011 to help reduce deforestation.
Hughes said the ban should be expanded beyond just land designated as natural, untouched primary forest to include all high biodiversity forests.
Hughes’ research methodology should be used to determine whether the same patterns exist in other parts of the world, said Christopher Martius, team leader for climate change at the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research.
“It is surprising that nobody ever did that before, and it is shocking that the result shows we grossly underestimated the possible threat to tropical forests from road building,” he said by email.