Saturday, August 1, 2015

Weekly Whine: Road Rage

I think that the Internet has taught us that when people feel anonymous, they will act like jerks. But I think road rage is worse than Internet rage, just because it can potentially be dangerous. When I'm driving, the only thing that matters to me is getting from point A to point B safely. If I'm a few minutes late to wherever I'm going, the world will not come to an end. I can't think of any place that I need to be exactly on time that is worth risking my life over.

Other people apparently feel differently.

There's this really difficult left turn I have to make when I leave work. The visibility isn't great, and of course everybody is speeding in both directions, which makes it harder. But on multiple occasions, I have made the turn with plenty of room, yet somebody has honked at me (and I mean really leaned on that horn) just because maybe they had to lift their foot off the accelerator for half a second. I'm not making a left turn as a personal insult to you, I swear. Honestly, when I see people trying to make what look like difficult left turns, I usually slow down to let them go.

I don't think people should be allowed to honk their horn out of anger. Horns should be used in order to prevent an accident, or possibly as an alert. That's it.

A friend of mine was recently telling me a story about how she was at a light and her car just died. She immediately turned on the blinkers, and most people recognized that she couldn't move the car and went around her. But there were one or two cars that just didn't get it, and kept honking and honking angrily. She said that one guy finally went around her, and gave her the finger and yelled curses at her.

I can't imagine what would make a person behave that way. Oddly, she told me she got out of the car after that, and subsequently multiple people stopped to ask her if they could help. Maybe after she was out of the car, she was less anonymous, so people felt more compelled to be nice?


  1. I never beep out of anger, but, I often beep as a warning to people doing things totally idiotic which might result in their untimely deaths.

    The trouble is, my Volkswagen Polo has a horn that sounds like a clown car horn. If anyone hears it, it is purely by accident, and more than anything else, their reaction will be to laugh rather than be warned by it.

    Three times on a recent 40km round trip, the person in front of me was so busy using their phone they ended up totally on the wrong side of the road. I beeped to warn them, nothing.

    I'm going to get the horn changed in my car, to something akin to a train or large truck horn. Maybe then they'll hear it and get the warning I am trying to give them! :)

  2. I think you have it right, bad behavior is "easier" from the supposed anonymity of being in a car. Add in a little sense of entitlement - how dare you make me slow down! - and some people get ugly.

    Several years ago I came to a busy, multi-lane intersection. A car was sitting, flashers on, maybe 5 car lengths back in a left turn lane. A woman was soutside the car, another woman by the driver's door. They were just standing there looking worried. As it happened they were near several parking lots, including one gas station not 50 yards from where they were stalled.

    I parked my car and we three managed to push the car into the gas station. Do you think anyone stopped to help? Nope. Cars kept whizzing past as though we were there on purpose to get in their way. Two women pushing a car, third behind the wheel, no man thinks to give us a hand? Shame on them. I've always wondered if the fact that the women were hispanic factored into that at all...

    We've all had experiences with thoughtless, bully drivers. All I can do about that is be what I wish everyone else would be. Careful and thoughtful. No tailgaiting slower cars, seeing what's clearly a difficult turn being made (such as your left) and help facilitate that turn, like you said you do.

    And sure, sometimes I'm frustrated by another driver's actions (take your pick...failure to signal, being distracted on a phone, etc) but at least I keep my windows closed and swear at them privately... :-P

  3. I live in a part of the country where passive unpredictabilty is the rule on the roads...

    and it is JUST as awesome as it sounds.

    So, when it's a situation like a hard left turn, car dies in the middle of the street, a driver clearly in a new area, I don't mind, because hopefully, someone will extend a bit of a courtesy to me...

    But when I nearly get T boned at a 4 way stop because I followed the RH rule and the other driver stepped on it after looking up on her phone. Yeah, I am going to follow you to our apartment building, honking the whole way.

    1. I don't know if it's a good policy that just because somebody almost endangered both of your lives, you should try to do the same thing to get back at them...

    2. Yeah, I understand what you mean. I guess I should have clarified that the apartment building garage was right after the turn...

      Work in progress though-I've always been trying to think that the other person had a bad day or something.

  4. I finally moved to a part of the US where road manners are common. Never hear a horn beep and since the roads are steep and curvy, everyone tacks extra time to the commute in case we get behind a log truck or RV. Such a delight after coming from south Florida.
    Just wanted you to know I loved The Devil Wears Scrubs. A tiny bit scary since I was just a patient but still funny as all get out. Thanks for the fun read.

  5. I confess that I flipped the bird to a motorist on the side of the road. She was on the side, but in a REALLY terrible place where I almost hit her. It was only after I passed her that I could see her car was disabled, and she wasn't just a stupid jerk. I don't think she had her blinkers on, but it wouldn't matter because they would not have warned me given her location and the road.

  6. If it's any comfort, you will be consulting on some of those honking assholes in the ED at some point. Guaranteed.

  7. Something happens to people once they get behind a wheel. It's as though the car shields them and they do things they wouldn't normally. Weird.

  8. Quite honestly, I find a reason to honk because people will sit still at a green light, be playing or talking on a smart phone and not seeing the traffic is moving in front of them ... etc. so it might be really hard to tell who is a true idiot and who has a car problem. They are supposed to make the attempt to move the car out of the traffic way - at least in this state.