Road Rage and You
You're a good person. You work hard, pay your taxes, tell the truth, vote, go to the synagogue, mosque, church, or coven of your choice, give to charity, and have good hygiene. You love your family. You're a tolerant person who prides yourself on your open-mindedness and you feel at peace with the rest of your race - until you get behind the wheel of your car.
It starts as you try to pull out of your driveway and you have to wait because there's a car coming. Maybe you're a few minutes late and you feel a little tense. Maybe you don't like your job and resent being forced to go there by our unrelenting socio-economic system. At any rate you feel a twinge of anger at having to wait for the car, albeit they have the right of way. You feel they are deliberately driving slower to aggravate you, so as they drive by, you goose the accelerator and zoom out behind him, since he is going your way.
Now you're stuck behind him. He's an older man in a Mercedes. You wish you could afford a Mercedes, but because of your lousy job and self-indulgent spouse and teenage children, you can't. He's probably rolling in dough, has no place to go, and is driving slow, slow, slow. You drive about three inches from his back bumper. He is looking at you in his rear view mirror - and you could swear he's laughing.
At last you get to the onramp to the expressway. He is going the same way. You're livid. But the onramp has two lanes so you zoom past your antagonist, narrowly missing his front fender as you cut him off. You glance at your mirror and he's making an obscene gesture at you! You can't believe it. Boy, that guy is a real jerk!
Your zooming ends abruptly as you enter the slow-moving traffic on the expressway. A glance at the dashboard clock tells you that you are definitely running behind at this point and you may be late for work again. Your boss hasn't said anything to you yet. You change lanes several times, but every time you do, the new lane is no better than the old. The old jerk you cut off on the onramp catches up to you on your right. Inside his car, he's laughing at you and mocking you with a big smile on his face. It's a good thing for him you don't have a gun.
Traffic is backed up at your exit because of road construction. 'Why do they have to work on the roads during rush hour, the stupid idiots?" you demand of no one in particular. You are definitely going to be late. You signal to change lanes to make your exit, but all of a sudden the old guy in the Mercedes pulls up beside you and won't let you in. You're ready to explode, but there is nothing you can do. You drive another three miles in stop-and-go traffic on the expressway and take the next exit, your heart pounding in your ears as you try to calm down.
You are relieved to find traffic is moving well at this exit. Some nerve that guy had, cutting you off like that. He had better watch himself because you'll be looking out for him. You fantasize how you'll cut him off next time. Maybe you'll rent a U-Haul truck and wait in your driveway until he comes down the street as he did that morning. Oh, yes. You'll have your revenge.
As you continue to plan your vehicular homocide, you near your turn off, but there is a bicyclist on the paved shoulder. What terrible luck! You stay behind her for perhaps a second, but you think you can beat her to the corner - she doesn't seem to be going all that fast - so you give it a little gas and you think you have it made until you hear a bump and see the cyclist go down in your rear view mirror....
Unfortunately for her, her right leg ends up under your right rear wheel and she can look forward to days in the hospital as they reconstruct her leg, weeks in a cast, and months of physical therapy. She will also need plastic surgery to repair the road rash on her face. She is twenty-two years old.
Unfortunately for you, she is your employer's niece, so not only is your car insurance going up, but your income is going radically down, plus your former employer is using all the resources at his disposal to punish you. After your car and house are siezed, your spouse leaves you and takes the kids. Your employer, a single person, marries your spouse.
Your life is over. You try to kill yourself, but you miss and are forced to wear a colostomy bag for the rest of your life, most of which you spend trying to find a homeless shelter with room for you.
Now, all of this could have been avoided if you had simply used your head.
- Leave early enough to get there without rushing. You'll have less stress.
- When you get behind the wheel, take a few deep breaths and calm yourself down.
- Adopt a calm, logical persona when you drive. Take nothing personally. Try to have a sense of humor.
- Drive defensively, not agressively.
- Err on the side of caution.