Driving Superstition

I was driving with my friend and we safely went through a yellow light. She kissed her hand and touched the roof of the car. I thought she was just being strange so I ignored it. Then she did it a few more times later during the trip. I was worried and annoyed that she thought I was a bad driver. So, I asked her what she was doing. She replied, “Oh sorry it’s just a habit. My mom taught me to do it so now I just do it all the time. It’s just something that makes sure we stay safe in the car. It doesn’t really mean anything haha I just do it.” I was relieved that she didn’t actually think that I was a bad driver. It was just a superstition that she believed in.

My friend is a computer science major with a game development emphasis. As part of the computer science community she collects and forwards a myriad of folklore specific to this unique group. Computer science folklore is unique and reflects the beliefs and the culture of the group. Per my informant, as well as personal experience, computer science majors have a unique sense of humor that develops from the difficult coursework, the long hours spent on the computer coding, and the group dynamic required to get through the major. This humor is often expressed through memes and jokes only members of this group can understand and appreciate.

I have heard of a few driving superstitions but I don’t actively take part in any myself. I drive 15 hours a week for work since I work for a driving service. It might be that I drive so much in Los Angeles that I just expect other drivers to cut me off or stop randomly. I have never felt a need to take part in a superstition that should protect me. There have definitely been a few close calls which is just a part of driving in Los Angeles. The roads are super narrow, there is always construction, and there are always too many people. I have never attributed my ability to drive safely to any sort of superstition or outside force. My friend’s superstition made her feel comfortable and safe when she performed it. It didn’t bother me that she needed to perform this superstition. I just found it interesting especially since she drives a lot less than I do. It would seem more plausible that I should have more driving superstitions since I am always in the car.