You are off to work! You are speeding down the freeway, likely 5 miles an hour or more over the speed limit. You are nearing an entrance ramp and other cars are heading on to the highway and going to merge into your lane. You approach a bit more tentatively, and maybe you take your foot off the gas a little. Or, you may even speed up to get ahead of them as they prepare to merge.
EDITOR’S NOTE: SEE PARTS 1 & 2 HERE ⤵︎
Then, one of the oncoming cars does something unexpected! The driver of the car crosses the solid white line and jerks right in front of you. You have to hit the brakes! Frustration wells up inside you and you feel the urge to pound the steering wheel, but instead, you throw your arms in the air! Exasperated, you shout, “What are you thinking!”
What did the entering driver do? What is so bad about getting into the forward-moving lane of traffic as soon as possible? Is it wrong to cross that solid white line? It may not seem so at times, but it is.
First of all, let’s get clear on what the lines mean. Did you know it is against the law to cross a solid line? A solid line of any color is not to be crossed. Dashed lines of any color can be crossed. Yellow lines separate traffic going in opposite directions. A solid yellow line indicates crossing is not permitted. A dashed yellow line can be crossed provided oncoming traffic is clear (i.e., for passing on a two-lane highway). White lines separate traffic that is moving in the same direction. A solid white line means crossing is not permitted. A dashed white line can be crossed provided the lane is clear.
So, why do so many people cross solid white lines? To be generous, I think many simply do not know it is against the law to cross solid white lines. We will give them a free pass. The rest are likely impatient, in a hurry, rushing, not paying attention or crossing for some other reason.
Frankly speaking, crossing the solid white lane is not safe. Traffic engineers and other transportation experts have planned these lines to create optimal safety for all. They consider things like travel speed, visibility, road conditions, road curvature, and more. Then, the lines are painted to reflect what is most likely to provide safety and optimal travel for all.
To cross the lines on the road is simply not a safe thing to do!
Many of us are speeding down the roads of life crossing lines as well. Recent stories in the media have captured parents cheating or lying to get their children into a prestigious university. Every day we hear of some celebrity, politician, or other so-called important person being unfaithful, telling lies, or secretly engaging in some illicit activity. It is sad how not a day passes without some story of people crossing the lines.
I am not sure if this has always been the case–that people will cross lines to get what they want right now, but it sure seems like the problem is escalating. It seems like more and more people are racing across lines that were never meant to be crossed and it is not without consequence.
We cannot speed through life crossing lines of honesty, maturity, authenticity, commitment, and loyalty without causing significant harm.
The answer is integrity. The answer is found in this definition I use as a Daring Way Facilitator to work with people to be true to themselves and regain a sense of peace and confidence: “Integrity is choosing courage over comfort. Integrity is choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. Integrity is actually practicing your values and not just professing them.”
It can be so very easy to cross one little white line! What is the harm in that? Heck, some people are crossing solid yellow lines and it does not seem to hurt them. We can even be tempted to follow them across the lines. Maybe we get away with it for a while. Maybe it does not seem to cause any harm. However, I am convicted that every time we cross a line, we weaken ourselves and risk harm to others. Every little breach of integrity weakens the character and makes it easier the next time. There will surely be a crash–and in my experience–that crash always comes at the worst possible time. It is no small thing to cross the lines.
So, as you head down the roads of life today, please pay attention to the solid and dashed lines. Make a pledge to not cross those solid ones. Stay in your lane until it is clear–by the lines and the traffic–to merge over. Also, as you make each of the choices you face today–large and small–don’t cross the lines. Be honest! Be loyal! Do what you said you would do! Honor your commitments! Be true to your word! Be true to your heart! Show integrity!
It may seem like I am missing an opportunity to cross the line and slide into moving traffic, but I am capturing the opportunity to live with more integrity! That brings lasting peace to my journey and to my life. It is just a safer, happier, and better way to go!