The road to the house in Vermont where we spend our summers is a narrow dirt road. It has only one lane, but accommodates two-way traffic. There are no lights. No rails. Oh, and on one side the road abruptly drops off down a steep cliff into an embankment.

Did I mention that I have no depth perception? Really, none. When I went to take an eye test, they had me put on those funny glasses and told me to pinch the wings of the butterfly I was looking at. I had no idea what they were talking about. The picture looked the same to me with or without 3D glasses. Yup, absolutely no depth perception.

Did I mention that I have no depth perception?So, needless to say, I do a lot of praying every time I drive down this road. I keep my window wide open, refuse to turn on any music, and—to the utter humiliation of my kids—I often disturb the peace and quiet by honking, just to let anyone who may be coming from the other direction know that I am on the road.

Usually, when two cars meet on this road, whoever is closer to a cut-out will pull over and let the other car pass. But, being that I lack depth perception, there is no way in the world I am going to reverse near the edge of a cliff. That is why I am so careful to let cars know I am coming, with the sincere hope that they will pull aside to let the tourist pass. (Honestly, who else would honk on this road?)

Recently it struck me that this road has a few important lessons to teach. At home, when I get into the driver’s seat, I feel pretty invincible. Even if I am driving 60 MPH (okay, 70 MPH) down the highway, I don’t really think or worry about the other cars on the road, and I don’t pay much attention to my surroundings unless I absolutely must. Scarily enough, I sometimes arrive at my destination so focused on some thought that I have no recollection of having driven there.

Not so on our lovely Potter Road in Vermont. When I drive this road, it takes all of my concentration. I am acutely aware of the risks and dangers, and think of nothing other than the road ahead and other drivers who may have to share it with me. When two cars meet, each driver must be sensitive to the other. We are in this together and need to figure it out together.

You see someone, you smile, you wave. Period.Communication helps. That’s something I love about Vermont: All drivers wave to each other. It is an unspoken rule. When you pass another car, you wave, smile and say hello. When we first started coming here I thought I must have a really familiar-looking face, since everyone thought they knew me! But my husband, who was born and bred here, introduced me to this Vermont “law” that being friendly is par for the course. You see someone, you smile, you wave. Period.

We all get so busy with our lives that we can forget to slow down and recognize that there are others who need to pass. We can be so focused on our own situations that we don’t move to the side for another. But on this road, that isn’t an option. And that reminder is right there, where the road ends and the cliff begins.

In life and relationships, you must tread carefully (and a smile and wave to those we’re passing never hurts).

Lately, as I have been daring to make this drive alone more often, I have been thinking about the Prayer for Travelers. Whenever one travels by sea, air or car, there is a certain amount of danger involved. So the rabbis established that we should recite a prayer for a safe trip. This prayer is usually recited for longer journeys, but it may be recited for even a short trip in a dangerous area. I think my road counts!

Truth be told, the majority of the times when I recite the prayer, I am not really worried. Sure, I say it on the runway before the flight takes off, and we recite it during a long car ride, but I am never really concerned. I love to fly, and I fall asleep in the car (when I am the passenger!). I am not filled with trepidation, or even very aware of the possible dangers involved. And because I am not, I am not grateful when we arrive. I always assumed we would.

But every time I make it to the end of Potter Road, I breathe a sigh of relief, and thank my Creator for the fact that I didn’t misjudge the space, or swerve too far on a turn.

And this gratitude, this awareness, this realization sets the tone for the rest of the day. This road is not only a way of getting to where I am going, it allows me to remember how careful I must always be, and how fragile life truly is.

In life and relationships, you must tread carefullyI look down the embankment, and am unable to ignore what could happen on this drive. While it’s scary to think about, it also makes me truly appreciate the blessing of arriving safely at my destination. And that is the point of the Traveler’s Prayer. We ask for protection and safety, and we recognize when it has been received. For a blessing is a blessing only if you allow yourself to see it.