Religion & Beliefs

God Is Riding Shotgun

You may have heard that the Vatican recently released the Drivers' Ten Commandments. It sounds kind of dumb, but as someone who has been hit by a car, and who has a somewhat unhealthy fear of dying in a car … Read More

By / June 20, 2007

You may have heard that the Vatican recently released the Drivers' Ten Commandments. It sounds kind of dumb, but as someone who has been hit by a car, and who has a somewhat unhealthy fear of dying in a car crash, I have to say I’m impressed by the thought put into these. I’m pasting the “Commandments” below, along with amendments from Allison at Find Religion.

The “Drivers’ Ten Commandments” (with my little comments)


1. You shall not kill. (aka, slow down and THINK when you’re driving.) 2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm. (huh? isn’t this reiteration of don’t kill with cars?) 3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events. (aka, stop flipping people off and let someone cut ahead of you once in awhile.) 4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents. (good advice is underlying here–you should learn what to do in an emergency so that you’re prepared to call 911 and do first aid) 5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin. (aka, buy a smart car to get you around, not a flashy car that is bad on gas and high on emissions) 6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so. (again, there’s good underlying advice here–be a parent, not a friend. Not everyone is ready to drive at 16 years old.) 7. Support the families of accident victims. (I like this one–give help where you can, when you can.) 8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness. (this seems like a commandment for a judge, not for the everyday person. I think it would be better to call for the guilty to seek forgiveness and the victim to work toward forgiving) 9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party. (I guess that means be respectful toward a car if you’re a 18-wheeler…which makes total sense!) 10. Feel responsible toward others. (the best advice–if we all feel a little responsible for other all the time, there would be less stupid mistakes and more happy people in the world!)

I especially like number 5. I’m pretty sure they’re telling us all not to fornicate in cars. Sad. I don’t like to take advice from the Pope, though. Pretty much on principal, I don’t let the Vatican set rules for me. If you insist on being contrary, too, you can check out the pluralistic list over at Zen Habits, 5 Powerful Reasons to Drive Slower and How to Do It.

I drive slower these days. While I used to be a bit of a driving maniac (ask my wife), passing everybody and stepping hard on my accelerator, I would also get increasingly frustrated when people would drive slow and keep me from driving fast, or cut me off. Driving was a stressful experience. Not anymore. These days, driving is a much more calm, serene experience, and I enjoy it much more. I look around at other drivers and wonder whether they really need to get to where they’re going so fast, and whether they’ll slow down when they get there. I wonder if it’s really worth burning all that gas and getting so angry and risking so many lives. And then I think about other things, because driving for me has become a time of contemplation. I heartily recommend driving slower — for many reasons, but one of the best reasons is that it has made me a much happier person. It’s such a simple step to take, but it makes an incredibly big difference.

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