Within the past two weeks, middle fingers have been thrown around like candy at a parade. I have witnessed three minor road rage incidents from the passenger seat. One incident had especially terrible timing; it happened on the way home from seeing a loved one be taken away by a coroner. This is a problem.
To be fair, in that situation, the middle finger from the other driver was provoked. However, his previous actions were absolutely unacceptable. As we were exiting the freeway and traveling down the offramp, he pushed his Aveo so close to the back of the car I was riding in, I thought he could reach out his window and touch our tailgate. From the passenger mirror, I couldn’t see his headlights, or the beginning of his hood.
It is important to note that the driver of the car I was in was not even braking on the off ramp and was approaching a red light. What did the Aveo driver want her to do? Was she not supposed to brake? Was she supposed to blow the red light? Was she supposed to ram the cars in front?
The next incident happened when we were almost home after four hours of driving, and my dad was behind the wheel. Everything was good until he approached a roundabout somewhat fast, and had to stop to yield to a car in the roundabout. By the time we stopped, the passenger already had his middle finger prominently displayed in the window, and the driver tapped the horn. This was slightly more justified, but my dad did stop and wasn’t close to hitting them; he was behind the yield line. This occurred on Father’s Day, no less.
But this past Tuesday was a tipping point for me. Again, my dad was driving the family van and I was in the passenger seat. There was a Chevy Sonic in front of us that absolutely refused to keep a consistent speed. It was like her car would explode if she kept driving at a constant 45 or, God forbid, 50 mph. Now, when I say consistent, that includes slowing down a few miles per hour or speeding up a little. I understand that no driver can keep his or her speed 100% perfect. But this driver would slow down to 40, if not 35, and suddenly speed up to 50. So we already had to deal with this driver when a Mercury Marauder pulled out behind us.
This person must have wanted to slap the rump of our car, too, because their headlights were also absent in my mirror. I could have sworn that he actually almost hit us when we had to slow down for the Sonic to take a turn. Eventually, the Sonic turned off into a neighborhood and we were able to continue on our merry way at 50, which is five over the speed limit. Then we got to a roundabout.
We went through it like normal, and this Marauder honked and gassed it passed when we were far enough through for him to go straight around us. This was completely unwarranted. My dad did not go slowly through the roundabout, and the Marauder knew that there was a car in front of us for a majority of the time. He did that just to be a dick.
These situations brought me to some realizations. It’s easy to become angry when you have anonymity behind the layers of metal and glass, so I understand how one can become frustrated with other drivers. It happens to all of us, but try and contain yourself.
Chances are if you get right on someone’s bumper or flip them off, they won’t do what you want them to. Your actions won’t get the other driver to speed up. The other driver will do what they want to do, and the only thing you will accomplish is making them more angry. This, of course, tends to create more problems than there already are.
Just remember, you don’t know the circumstances of the other driver. Worst-case scenario, they have just experienced something awful, like the death of a loved one. You don’t want to be the one that makes their day worse. And remember to watch out for Chevy subcompact sedans.
Photo credit to Citizen Coaching.