I took the West Virginia driver’s written exam in Moorefield in 1968. Although I have not re-read a driver’s rules book recently, I figure that there are certain of the basic rules for driving that have remained the same.
Take, for example, the rules for entering a highway from off an entry ramp, and the rules for procedure involving right-of-way turning.
Traveling Interstate 81 recently, I saw no less than six instances of drivers entering the highway from off-ramps and nearly causing collisions with cars already on the highway. Because of the volume of traffic in both highway lanes, several cars in each incident nearly rear-ended the other because of drivers forcing their way into the flow of traffic from the off-ramp.
Basically, the red, triangle sign with the word “YIELD” written on it located along each off-ramp means that the law expects entering traffic TO YIELD! If the traffic already on the highway cannot move over to the fast lane to let traffic enter safely into slow lane, then the ramping traffic must slow down and wait until after the highway traffic has passed for a safe opening to enter the highway. The ramping traffic has the responsibility to yield, not the other way around. Although this is a simple right-of-way principle, apparently many people do not know the law.
Many drivers do not do the law when it comes to turning at stop signs or red-light intersections. Generally, when making a left-hand turn, the car directly across the way has the right-of-way to move first to go straight ahead, or to make a right turn. Drivers who have the right-of-way often wave the other driver to proceed. It might be a kind gesture, but more often than not it is because there is confusion about the rules of law for driving.
How can driving be done safely if people do not know to do the law? Otherwise, people who do not know to do the law will always pose a useless danger.
The same type of question may be asked as it involves living out right relationship with God. How can we live properly with God and be at peace with God if we do not do the Law of God? There is considerable confusion, controversy, and unrest in our society today because people do not know to do the Law of God.
We need to remember that the Law of God is not bound up in some sort of biased code of religious-based ethics. First, the Law of God is supremely manifested in the Ten Commandments, which involves relationships on two levels. Commandments one through four involves our responsibility to relate rightly to God. Commandments five through 10 involves our responsibility to relate rightly with our fellow man.
There is no doubt about it — there would be less evil manifested in our society of we did the Law which expects us to relate rightly to God. Peace and righteousness would be the prevailing result. Furthermore, there would be less violence in our society if we related rightly with each. There would be less killing of each other and there would be less stealing from each other and there would be less lying about each other if we just did the Law of God on that count.
Second, the Law of God is embodied supremely in the commandments of Christ. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments … You are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you.”
While we do not like to hear it in our fiercely independent and live-as-you-please society, God has stipulated His Laws for us to live by. What we need to understand and embrace is that God’s Laws are for our good. God’s Laws are loving in their expectations. God’s Laws are beneficent in their consequences.
God’s Laws bring us manifold blessings when we know them. What is the sixth of the Ten Commandments? The commandments of Christ are so helpful when we practice them. What does the Lord say is the result of keeping His commandments?
In the meantime, drive safe. Watch out for the other guy.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.