It’s often mystifying how people’s ethics can change based on the position they’re in. Many wonder how does a good person suddenly go wrong when put in a bad environment?
To find the answer, think back to the last time you came to a crosswalk as a driver. Did you rationalize that the pedestrian hadn’t stepped into the street yet so you didn’t really have to stop? Or maybe think, “The guy behind me is right on my tail, and it’s more dangerous if I stop to let the pedestrian go.”
And if you did stop, how slowly did it appear the pedestrians were walking? It’s like they’re trying to make you wait. And you may have noticed out of one or two of them a somewhat self righteous air of virtue for walking, not driving.
Now park your car, and try to cross the same street. As a pedestrian you quickly notice how many drivers choose to ignore the crosswalk, or come begrudgingly to a halt. And you probably are thinking, “How dare they? It’s my right to cross here. They should be stopping.” And when traffic stops, if you’re like most pedestrians, you cross at your normal pace. You probably don’t hurry along to make the wait shorter for them.
It’s remarkable how short our ethical memories can be. Maybe if we got people to think more about things from both the driver’s and the pedestrian’s perspective, there would be a lot less ethical and compliance failures.
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