Published on October 7, 2015
Have you ever noticed how arguments always seem to erupt in the car? Even if your relationship is great, you don’t want to try to make a suggestion about what route to take when your spouse is driving because you know it’s going to blow up. Alternatively, you’re always trying to remember how your spouse gets somewhere when you’re driving so that they don’t start sulking when you go the “wrong” way.
What makes us so touchy and oddly defensive when we’re in the car anyway? Let’s take a quick look at some of the biggest problems that surface when we’re on the road.
If either person has a control issue then conflict in the car is inevitable. A simple fact of driving is that only one person can be in the driver’s seat, literally. A controlling driver will interact with strangers in a very dominant and often aggressive way on the road. Since cars aren’t people, we don’t mentally assign personhood to them, so many of the standards for how to politely treat another human go out the window the moment we get behind the wheel.
On the other hand, a controlling passenger will get angry and upset when the driver doesn’t automatically change lanes, brake, accelerate, or gas up the car when and where the controlling passenger would assume that they (obviously!) should. They better not even think about taking the freeway!
These kinds of control problems can be symptoms of larger issues in your relationship dynamic, and if it’s something you have to deal with all the time, it might be worth looking into.
It’s not rare for one or the other person in a relationship to be a bit less concerned with following all the arcane rules of the road. Some of us are just naturally a bit more concerned about getting into a car accident and ending up at the doctor’s office with whiplash symptoms. Additionally, people from different areas of the country are used to different levels of scrutiny by traffic police, so they’ll be more or less worried about getting a ticket than their significant other.
Unfortunately, people who love the rules tend to think of them as the bedrock of society, and failing to follow those rules is the act of purposely chipping away at the very fabric of civilization. In this situation it’s important for both partners to be understanding and try to see it from each other’s point of view.
Sometimes your spouse isn’t necessarily controlling, legally careless, or a stickler for the rules. Sometimes your spouse just suddenly gets patronizing. Whether they’re legitimately trying to help, or just trying to impress you with their extensive knowledge of local traffic laws and ordinances, being given an impromptu lesson can be infuriating.
If you’re a traffic law enthusiast, or you just want to show your husband how easy parallel parking really is, it might be better to keep that information to yourself, or ask before you start sharing.
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Category: Car Accidents