In Fearrington Village, where I live, there are frequent impassioned pleas to:

  • Obey the speed limit (25mph everywhere, 15 in the Village Center),
  • Come to a complete stop at stop signs,
  • Watch for [pedestrians/children/deer/cyclists/aggressive trees], and the latest I noticed,
  • Don't go in the out driveway, or out the in driveway, or something.

Curious, I was wondering

if any studies existed about why people do, or do not adhere to traffic rules. If such studies exist, Google doesn't seem to know about them. Searching for "adherence to traffic laws" finds thousands of hits, all of which seem to be

  • Exhortations to obey traffic laws, or
  • Recitations of the consequences of  NOT obeying traffic laws.

The only interesting and exceptional hit was a question: "Do you have to be ADHD to obey traffic laws?" apparently by someone with ADHD.

Wouldn't it be interesting to have a scientific study (for those who "believe in 'science' ") on why people do NOT obey traffic laws? I have a guess about the answer to the research question, if not a reason why the research has not been conducted: Most people who driving a car believe the can operate their car safely, given their knowledge of their car, road conditions, weather and lighting, prior experience with similar situations, and lack of enforcement. These people will drive at whatever speed they think is safe for them, in that situation.

Corrolary: no amount of finger-wagging by others will cause any change in driving behavior.

So all you watchful folks who are always, of course, perfectly compliant, safe drivers: if you see someone doing something of which you disapprove, just chill. You aren't going to change anyone's behavior by nagging, so give yourself a break and stop fretting. (As we used to say when I was flying, "You should only fly one airplane at a time.") Go home and read to your kids (or grandkids), walk the dog, and think happy thoughts. You'll feel better for it, I promise.