It has been said that no one can understand the mind of the medieval knight, and the implication is that his blend of arrogance, quick temper, risk-taking and irrationality is a thing of the past.
Curiously enough, the automobile has created its own species of knights. Lulled into a false sense of security by the armour around him, flattered by the speed which he controls with the touch of the foot, arrogant towards those with inferior mounts or with no mounts at all, the modern motorist will display chivalry towards an attractive woman, pay grudging deference to the owner of a vehicle which is clearly superior, but otherwise behave with stupid over-competitive hostility to every other road-user. The clearest conviction of the modern motorist is that every other driver is in the wrong; he is driving too fast, too slowly, too timidly or too aggressively. Even the carnage of the multiple accident leaves him relatively unmoved; the massacre of a few peasants had much the same effect on a feudal baron’s emotions.
Like the medieval predecessor, the knight of the road goes into the lists and challenges all comers. This is the melee where he can work off his repressions and the ill-temper which everyday life engenders. Some drivers are worse than others but few of us have a completely unblotted escutcheon. Perhaps we are not so remote in thought from our distant ancestors as we like to believe.
—Philip Warner, The Medieval Castle