My experience in driving an automobile has been, for the most part, distinctly American. Our roads are neat and our traffic is mostly an orderly procession. We are possessed of rules and lanes, lights and prohibitions, posted signs and limits, warnings and mile markers. We avoid the mass merge so common to Asia and Russia with massive networks of on-ramps and off-ramps, overpasses and cloverleaves, flashing arrows and color-coded lights.
You might think that such commitment to rules and order would encourage civility and peace, but you would be wrong. Road rage is pure Americana. Road rules do not produce patience, peace, civility, or good will, though one might argue for safety and efficiency. I’ve watched people morph into monsters over an un-signaled lane change.
In Manila, I watched my driver navigate the worst traffic in the world by gently shouldering his way through roundabouts, making inch-by-inch progress in pure mayhem. He drove with hands and horn, though no one seemed to take offense. Exasperation was short-lived … it never got personal … it needed no sign language.
A lacking infrastructure produced its own rule: everybody has to give a little bit.