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Traffic Talk: Drive happy; drive safely

Don Gammill: Are happy drivers better drivers?
By DON GAMMILL Published: July 30, 2012

“So, is this the resident ‘know-it-all' at the newspaper?”

Here we go again. You generally can tell where the conversation is headed when you get a call like that. Before I could respond, he hit me with the second question.

“Are you the one who knows everything about driving and all that?”

A double shot.

“This can only get worse,” I thought. But I wanted to keep things peaceful.

“I write the traffic column, but I've never claimed to know everything,” I said. “There's no such person. Too many things change too often. No one could keep up with all them. I just try help when someone has a question or a concern.”

He laughed, then continued.

“Well, I got one for you. I want to know if happy drivers are better drivers.

“What's the answer?”

It hit me like a rear-end collision that two college degrees, 40 years in professional journalism and more than a dozen years writing this column weren't going to quickly provide the response he was awaiting.

“You know,” I said, “that's a great question. No one ever asked me that. But it would just make sense, don't you think, that if someone is feeling happy, they would be more likely to drive better than someone who's mad.

“It makes a difference for me. How about you?”

He had more fuel for this conversation.

“I suppose so,” he said. “But why?”

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