Posted by Sphinx on January 26, 2004
It is all very well to blame traffic jams, the cost of petrol and the quick pace of modern life, but manners on the roads are becoming horrible. Everybody knows that the nicest men become monsters behind the wheel. It is all very well, again, to have a tiger in the tank, but to have one in the driver's seat is another matter altogether. You might tolerate the odd roadhog, the rude and inconsiderate driver, but nowadays the well mannered motorist is the exception to the rule. Perhaps the situation calls for a"Be Kind to Other Drivers"campaign, otherwise it may get completely out of hand.
(1.Could you explain the two "It is all very well" sentences?
2.And for the "You might tolerate. exception to the rule." sentence, is the writer using subjunctive mood when saying "You might."?
3.And how to explain "the well mannered motorist is the exception to the rule"? What is the "rule" here?)
Road politeness is not only good manners, but good sense too. It takes the most coolheaded and good tempered of drivers to resist the temptation to revenge when subjected to uncivilized behavior. On the other hand, a little politeness goes a long way towards relieving the tensions of motoring. A friendly nod or a wave of acknowledgment in response to an act of politeness helps to create an atmosphere of goodwill and tolerance so necessary in modern traffic conditions. But such acknowledgments of politeness are all too rare today. Many drivers nowadays don't even seem able to recognize politeness when they see it.
(4.for the "On the other hand." sentence, which is the first "hand"?)
However, misplaced politeness can also be dangerous. Typical examples are the driver who brakes violently to allow a car to emerge from a side street at some hazard to following traffic, when a few seconds later the road would be clear anyway; or the man who waves a child across a zebra crossing into the path of oncoming vehicles that may be unable to stop in time. The same goes for encouraging old ladies to cross the road wherever and whenever they care to. It always amazes me that the highways are not covered with the dead bodies of these grannies.
(5."allow a car. to following traffic", I think it's wrong, which should be "to follow traffic".
6."when a few seconds later the road would be clear anyway", could you rephrase this sentence in plain English?)
A veteran driver, whose manners are faultless, told me it would help if motorists learnt to filter correctly into traffic streams one at a time without causing the total blockages that give rise to bad temper. Unfortunately, modern motorists can't even learn to drive, let alone master the subtler aspects of roadsmanship. Years ago the experts warned us that the car ownership explosion would demand a lot more give and take from all road users. It is high time for all of us to take this message to heart.
(A troublesome case, but still many thanks to you in advance!)