The Tao gives birth to One Lane. One Lane gives birth to Two Lanes. Two Lanes gives birth to Three Lanes. Three Lanes gives birth to the Eight Lane Superhighway. But the freeway that can be driven is not the eternal Freeway.
All arterials end in the Freeway as all rivers flow into the sea. The great Freeway flows everywhere. The Freeway is the center of the metropolis, the good man's treasure, the bad man's refuge. The Freeway never does anything, yet upon it all things are transported. It is like a well: used, but never used up.
The Freeway has no desires for itself; thus it is present for all drivers. The Freeway doesn't take sides, it gives birth to both calm and angry drivers. Anticipate trouble before it arises. The journey of a thousand miles starts from your carport. Think of the small traffic jam as large and the few cars as many. Confront the difficult commute while it is still easy; accomplish the great journey by a series of small maneuvers.
Return is the movement of the Freeway. Yielding is the way onto the Freeway. The Master Driver enters traffic gravely, with sorrow and with great compassion, as if he were attending a funeral. Having a lane without possessing, driving with no expectations, leading by example and not trying to control: This is the supreme virtue.
When drivers see other cars as slow, they are filled with the desire to go fast. When drivers eliminate the desire for speed, they go with the flow and there is no stress. When you are content to be simply pace yourself and don't compare speeds or compete for postition, everybody will respect you. The Master Driver does not wrangle about his position in traffic, and no one finds fault with him. All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives a good driver his power. Humility means trusting the Freeway. Trusting the Freeway means never needing to drive with fear.
May not the space between two cars be compared to a bellows?
The Master Driver blunts his sharp cornering, and unravels the complication of his weaving on the Freeway. Open yourself to the Freeway, then trust your natural responses; and everything will fall into place. Just stay at the center of your lane and let all things take their course. The Master Driver sees other drivers as they are, without trying to control them. He lets them go their own way, and resides in the center of his lane. Let all driving decisions come and go effortlessly, without desire. Never expect results and you will never be disappointed.
The Master Driver has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving. If you let restlessness move you, you lose track of where the police speed traps are. True mastery of the road can be gained by letting traffic go its own way. It cannot be gained by interfering.
Not to value men of superior velocity is the way to keep the people from rivalry among themselves. The Master Driver abstains from insulting other drivers with his speech or guestures, for this marks him who is in accord with the Dao of Driving. Give road rage nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.
The mediocre man becomes more and more urgent until he passes the Master Driver, but at the next light the Master Driver pulls up alongside him. The Master Driver will pass a slower vehicle, but be on his guard against being vain or boastful or arrogant in consequence of it. He passes as a matter of necessity. He passes, but not from a wish of mastery.
A car may be beautifully styled, but it is the four seats within that makes it useful. Not to prize vehicles which are expensive to procure is the way to keep the people from becoming car theives. The Master Driver parks in a beat up VW beetle with nothing but Grateful Dead tapes and thrift-store clothing inside, and no one breaks into his car.
How may a Master Driver's car be described? It's upper part is not bright, under the hood it is not obscure. Ceaseless in it's action, it never fails to start. Travelling to the next city, it becomes remote, yet it reliably returns home again with the light of morning. We pass it, but we do not see a self-aggrandizing vanity plate. We follow it, but we do not see a self-aggrandizing bumper sticker. Headlights blind the eye. Horns deafen the ear. The Master Driver tempers the brightness of his headlights and is sparing with the use of his horn. He leaves no traces of his leaky oil pan or his smoky engine.
In the highest antiquity, people did not know there were speed limits. In the next age they loved them and praised them. In the next they feared them; in the next they despised them. Thus when faith in the Dao of Driving was deficient in the Transportation Department, want of faith in them ensued in the drivers. The tallest tree in the forest invites the feller; the fastest car on the Freeway invites the State Patrol. Which do you hold more dear? Speed or life? Getting to point B early or living long? The reckless and fast do not die their natural deaths. I make this the basis of my driver's instruction.
A violent wind does not last for a whole morning, a sudden rain does not last for the whole day. If Heaven and Earth cannot make such thing last long, then how much less permanent is a mere traffic tie-up! The Master Driver knows how the HOV lane attracts during heavy traffic, but when commuting alone he keeps himself within the shade of the regular lanes.
Those who know the Freeway don't talk on mobile phones. Those who talk on mobile phones don't know the Freeway. Driving without distracting words on a cellular phone: that is the Master's way. Be aware when other drivers are out of balance, for they might be drunk. Stay centered within your own lane.
The best general enters the mind of his enemy. The Master Driver knows the thoughts of the drivers close to him. When two cars rush at each other, the victory will go to the one that knows how to yield.