“You stupid jerk, you cut me off!”
How many times has another driver cut in front of you, honked their horn and flipped the bird, or rolled down their window and shouted words that would even startle a crust sailor? Do you shrug it off or develop ideas that border on road rage?
Once, I was driving home from late evening classes at a local branch campus. I had a 2 hour drive (I needed the classes to graduate), along a dark, deserted country road. I was listening to music and reflecting on the long day of studying. Maybe, I was following too close to the pickup in front of me, maybe I wasn’t.
Suddenly, the pickup truck slammed on their brakes as their vehicle slid sideways in the middle of the road. I got out of my old clunker and started to walk up to see of the driver was alright. A young man opened the driver’s side door and started running towards me. I quickly got back in my car and locked each manual lock just as he grabbed the door handle. He began pounding on the drivers side window. His face grew bright red, his eyes like fire, as he pounded harder.
I glanced at the passenger floorboard where I had a police style 5 cell metal flashlight. Considering the situation, I decided to wait before reaching for it. Suddenly, the crazy man stopped pounding and began screaming at me. I couldn’t make out his words. He stepped back and I sped off as fast as my old piece of garbage could travel.
The guy got in his pickup and followed closely to me for the next 30 miles or so. I pulled into a small city and he pulled off down another road. I followed him at a distance and he then turned the truck and started chasing me again.
I was familiar with the town and drove to the city police department and began honking my horn. Two police officers came out and I explained what had happened. By now, the young pickup driver was calmer. I told the officers my story and the young man smirked and denied doing anything. I then mentioned that he had almost broken my window. The young man raised his voice and said, “I didn’t hit your window that hard.”
The officer smiled at me and told me to leave. I drove away and looked in the rearview mirror. A couple of Deputy Sheriff’s joined the police officers as I drove away.
I wish that wouldn’t have been the only example of people who lost their temper while driving. I had a crazy man jump out of his car on the New Jersey Turnpike at one of the toll booths. I had no idea why he was yelling at me since there was heavy traffic and no one was able to drive faster than 25 miles an hour.
Now, back to the title of my blog. When someone pisses you off while your driving, do you resort to road rage? Of course not. Might there be some kind of universal secret signal we could give to let off our frustration without someone developing road rage? Do they really need to drive like a NASCAR Driver or scream like a banshee?
Maybe we could flash our bright lights a couple of times? Or, could we blast a CD of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus? There has got to be some non violent way people could express their dissatisfaction
I have it! Why not put lights on our roof like taxi drivers use. We could activate a flashing sign that says “Piss Off! What do you think?
Pic from: drivesafeonline.org/