Creative commentary plus crafty composition

Urban vs Rural Driving

Likely anyone who has driven for any significant period has experienced driving both in the city and in the country. Likely familiarity alone makes many prefer one driving environment versus the other. Of course, too much of a comfort zone could cause one to become blasé behind the wheel, no doubt a contributing factor to many accidents.

Few, I believe, would argue that there’s not a distinct difference in one’s mind-set between city and country experiences, especially with driving.

Yours truly had an opportunity to experience these distinctions recently in Manitoba. Traversing through the western part of the city from the airport changed gradually, but dramatically, as the outskirts turned into the rural landscape.

The biggest transformations lie, physically, in the terrain, and psychologically, in the ease and pace of the drive – depending on the weather. The openness of motoring in the country can be blissful when it’s nice, but leads to greater vulnerability in tough conditions, exacerbated by distance or isolation.

Some dissimilarities leap out, especially if personally experienced – but there can be parallels too:

  • GPS can steer you wrong in the big city or in the country, particularly if one is fully dependent on GPS’s assumed wisdom; wherever the surroundings, being able to read a good, reasonably updated map should never steer one wrong
  • Fields in the city can be passed by in the blink of an eye; the horizon of crop fields in the country can be more than an eyeful
  • In some city neighbourhoods, there may be gas stations on every block, even every corner; in the country, blocks and corners are few and far between, and gas stations likewise
  • Not as much wildlife plunks itself as though it owns the road in the city; in both situations, however, the wildlife could be viewed as target practice
  • The speed limit in the city is subject to change, and enforcement by authority or traffic; speed limits in the country are periodic reference points, with little enforcement or traffic to get in the way
  • Damage to a vehicle in the city can be caused by drivers’ clumsy manoeuvres in parking lots; damage to a vehicle in the country can arise from errant chunks flying off gravel roads
  • The environmentalist movement has options to offer in challenging the use of vehicles in a city; environmentalists need to use vehicles to reach potential protest sites if they want to try this in the country
  • Driving in the city demands alert attention to potential inputs, which can leap up from any direction; driving in the country suggests one may need to look in all directions to find any inputs

You see a much wider range of small vehicles in the city. Wonder why…

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