Why is everybody so angry? Nope. Not the election. Well, yes, there are still far too many people losing sleep and needing counseling and/or antidepressants, but what I'm discussing in this post started years ago. I'm referring to road rage. Personally, I think it should be renamed road insanity.
I doubt anyone who spends time on highways/parkways hasn't experienced this. But it seems to be getting worse. No one wants to follow the law. And they don't want you to follow it either. And if you do, they will bully you into going faster than you know is safe or getting the hell out of their way. Because, of course, we all know they have more important things to do than the rest of us. They have places to get to, whereas, everyone else on the road is just out having a lazy little drive.
News Flash! We all have someplace to go. You don't own the road or have the right to endanger other people's lives. You have a killing machine in your hands. If it were a gun instead of a car, you probably wouldn't use it so recklessly. So why is it okay to cut in and out of lanes, ride up on someone's bumper, honk your horn, flash your lights and scream obscenities while making vulgar gestures?
And a special note to motorcyclists. Check the law. You're not legally permitted to drive between cars. You're supposed to stay in a lane like everyone else. Sorry to burst your balloon, but you're not only putting other drivers at risk, you're increasing the odds you may find yourself in a heap on the side of the road. Not looking so cool then, eh? Born to be wild is a song, not a lifestyle.
If you have to be somewhere by a certain time, check Waze. It's a great app that tells you exactly what the road conditions are and when you'll arrive. Or how about a mind-blowing suggestion? LEAVE EARLIER!!! It's not the rest of the world's fault if you're running late.
The way people treat each other on the road is appalling. If you were to act that way in any other situation, you would be found guilty of harassment and arrested. Too bad drivers can't be issued protection orders to stay a certain distance away from other vehicles.
Here is an example from August 31st that should chill the blood of anyone who gets into a vehicle.
What can you do when someone attacks you with a deadly weapon? I have been doing Tae Kwon Do for 13 years. I know how to defend myself. If you don't, I suggest you find a local martial arts school that teaches self defense and learn how to do it. Don't carry a weapon. Be the weapon. Do it for yourself, your family and friends. You don't know who might be with you when this happens. At least someone would know how to diffuse a potentially deadly encounter.
Short of that, those of us who do believe in law and common sense safety on the road do have a delightful new tool. A dash cam. And I urge people to get them and use them. Send the video to your local police department. It's time to stop complaining about being victims of this abuse. Now we can do something.
You can also report the situation in real time or after the fact. The State Police recommend that if the aggressive driver is causing a situation that you believe is dangerous, do not follow, try to keep up with them or confront them. Just pull over and dial 911 to report the incident. You will need a description of the car, the approximate location and the license plate if possible. You can also report the person to the local police when you get home. What's most important is that you do get home.
Obviously, it is not wise to engage someone face to face who clearly is not in control of their emotions. And showing them the same kind of disrespect in return, while satisfying in the moment, can be extremely dangerous.
One day I was driving home from work when a man starting following me very closely. Clearly, he thought I was going too slowly and because of the traffic couldn't go around me. Problem is that I was in the right lane and going more than the speed limit.
It was unnerving to know there was nothing I could do except hope he would go around me and disappear in a cloud of dust. Fortunately, I decided not to respond to his harassment. Suddenly, there was an opening and he moved over. Thank you, God. But as he passed my car I heard a thud against my door.
When I looked over I realized that he had thrown something at my car through his passenger window as he passed me. Message received. He was mad at having to wait to get past me. Somehow in his warped mind it was my fault.
The reason I share that story is to remind everyone that you should presume people on the road are crazy. My mom used to say "assume the worst" when driving. Always be a defensive driver. I doubt she had this situation in mind, but her words still ring true.
If you are interested in information about Road Rage and how to deal with it, go to: https://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/road-rage.php