Road Rage

Most of us have our pet peeves regarding the driving habits of others. I’ll have to admit that after 42 years behind the wheel, I’ve got mine also. I’m going to go through a couple of them now, with one caveat; all descriptions assume normal driving conditions with no road construction and good weather, etc.

A lot of my irritation is sourced around divers who do stupid things in the left (passing) lane of an interstate highway. I’ve got a philosophy about the passing lane; namely that it is for PASSING! Nothing irks me more than when I approach someone in the passing lane that won’t get over to the right lane to let me pass. Some of these drivers are stubborn. They’re going the posted speed limit and they believe that it is their sworn duty not to let anyone exceed that limit. Others are just plain unobservant, either zoning out to music or blabbing on their cell phones. I don’t care what the posted speed limit is; get the heck over and let the guy in the fast lane pass. If you’re going 1000 miles an hour in the passing lane and a guy going 1020 comes up behind you, get over and let him pass! It’s not your job to enforce the speeding laws, that’s why we pay taxes and hire cops.

Another thing that bugs me is when I’m in the passing lane going around slower traffic and some guy comes up behind me at a high rate of speed, tailgating me and wanting to pass. As soon as I can get around the vehicle I’m passing, I immediately shift to the right lane to allow him to get around me. After all, he’s in a hurry! But then, what does he do? He takes 2 minutes to finally pass me, with most of that time spent in my mirror’s blind spot. Hey, man, I’m not in a road race here. If you want to go around me, that’s fine with me. Be my guest! But if you want to actually pass me, then step on the pedal and get around me, don’t sit in my blind spot for 5 minutes! Likewise, when I’m passing a vehicle that is going just a bit slower than my vehicle I accelerate past him (even if I have to exceed the posted limit for a few seconds) so that I am not in his blind spot. I don’t want that guy to change lanes and pull left into my lane at a high rate of speed because he couldn’t see me in his blind spot. If you’re in someone’s blind spot, don’t hang around there for long because you jeopardize your safety as well as the life of the guy you’re passing.

My city driving pet peeve is the lack of “street smarts” exhibited by many drivers while attempting to turn left at a traffic light. When I was just a kid and my Mother was teaching me to drive, I was waiting to turn left at a green light but I hadn’t yet entered the intersection. Oncoming traffic was heavy and there was no car ahead of me. My Mom said, “Go ahead and pull straight forward into the intersection and get in position to make your left turn.” I said, “But Mom, if I get into the intersection to make my left turn and the light turns red, I’ll be blocking the intersection!” She said, “Precisely, and what do you think the oncoming cars will do when they can’t proceed through the intersection because your car is in the way? They won’t have any other choice but to wait for you to make your left turn before they can go ahead!”

I didn’t always listen to Mom, but my golly, I learned that lesson fast. That was the last time I didn’t enter the intersection when making a left turn when the light was green! Once in a while I’ll be behind a driver who won’t enter the intersection when making a left turn. If they enter the intersection I can usually get right behind them and two of us can turn the corner when the light turns red, but both of us are stuck waiting through another traffic light if they haven’t learned the lesson Mom taught me. The left turn folks don’t bug me as much as the passing lane hogs, largely because I think a lot of them just haven’t been educated by people as wise as my Mom.

A last caution is in order. When someone acts like a jerk and makes you mad when you’re driving, don’t retaliate. If the dope won’t get over when you want to pass, just swallow your pride and go around him on the right side. Playing bumper cars at 70 mph (or even 20 mph) isn’t a smart game for anyone, so swallow your pride and try to forget what a total idiot he is! When you arrive home safely your wife and kids will be happy. Moreover, the idiot and his idiot wife and his idiot kids will also be happy!

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