- Car Safety & Safe Driving
A Lesson in Road Rage
One day, after making a delivery in Dartmouth, I was heading back to Halifax via the McKay Bridge. After going through the toll gate, I kept to the right. A huge tractor trailer was crawling up the incline section well ahead of me. I would have swing over to the left lane to pass, so checked my rear view mirror, side mirror and over my shoulder. A SUV was in the left lane about car length behind me. I'll be a gentleman and let him pass, I thought. Most drivers passed me on the bridge even at the speed limit. The driver maintained his speed.
Well, obviously he's going to to be the gentleman and let me out, I reasoned and stepped on the gas a little. So did he. Hmm... coincidence or what, I said to myself, pushing the pedal half way down. He did the same. That's it Buddy, you want to have a little fun, I'll give it to you, I said to myself while slapping my van into passing gear and remained standing on the pedal. My opponent responded likewise.
By now I was coming up lickidy split to the tractor trailer's back door. I confirmed the position of my opponent. We had maintained the same distance apart, neither gaining or loosing an inch. Quickly I checked my speedometer, (now passing 100 kph) the enemy, and the shrinking distance between me and the tractor trailer.
It's now or never, I thought, either jam the brakes or pull out! Another second would be too late. So I did the proper thing, flipped on my signal and pulled out. My foot remained welded to the pedal until I passed the tractor trailer. Buddy was still on my tail. I unglued my foot and sighed a sigh of relief, signaled and slid into the right lane. I was smiling victoriously.
Buddy pulled up beside me. He wasn't smiling. He was waving, not the friendly congratulation type, but the white knuckle kind, with fist clinched and shaking with anger. His expression confirmed I'd made the wrong choice, but I didn't realize how wrong until he yanked on his wheel and flew towards me as if to send me over the rail to my death. I shuddered.
Next, Buddy stepped on it, pulled over into my lane and slowed down. I slipped into the left lane, avoiding eye contact. I was going downtown and the left lane was the one to take me there. The right lane was an exit only. I breathed easier... for a second. Buddy rolled down his window, vigorously shook his fist again and motioned for me to follow him. Like that was going to happen! To confirm his displeasure at my refusal, he swerved toward me one last time.
Back at the frame shop, I relaid my experience to the employees. They thought it was funny! So did I, back on the bridge before I pulled out. I was wrong! Not only was I ungentlemanly, but excessively broke the speed limit, irritated Buddy which could have escalated to who knows what if I hadn't had the sense to back off. I determined right there on the bridge, that would be the last time I'd pull a stunt like that.
To my knowledge, I never met Buddy again, but if for some unforeseen reason he reads this post, I'm sorry. You taught me a lesson and I haven't pulled that stunt again. Like we said as kids, "I'd rather be a live chicken than a dead hero."
- Sticks and Stones
How to respond to name calling.