You know you’ve all been there, sitting over the top of your wheel, eyes popping out of your head in utter disbelief of what you’re witnessing in front, beside or behind you as you drive.
Is it that person whose elbow is almost touching the roof of the car as they hang on to their ever precious cell phone? Maybe it’s the person driving in front of you who swerves from the centre line to the sidewalk, and back again over and over driving in a never-ending “S” bend
Ok so I have to come clean, I am one of the biggest culprits out there – well used to be. I never realized the extent of my bad driving , until I was speaking with one of my closest friends. The conversation had nothing to do with driving whatsoever. We were discussing the best option for me for a first date. To my surprise, his advice to me for the first date was – anything that didn’t include me driving.
I had always thought of myself as a defensive driver rather than an aggressive one. I notice other driver’s mistakes and point them out to my passengers. I am the type of driver who systematically attends to my side and rear view mirrors constantly.
I started racking my brain for past incidences that I could think of, to my surprise I quickly realized there was no shortage of material. One instance that really stood out in my mind was a couple of years back I was heading South on Hwy six in Mt Hope, driving around 90 km/hr in the passing lane I was alone and minding my business. All of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I see a red blur speed by my right side, quickly followed by a yellow blur both of which ended up quickly cutting in front of my path.
“These guys are driving like total idiots” I thought to myself and I was going to show them that this was not allowed in my area.
I have been told countless times in the past few years since aquiring my gas-guzzler that I look like a cop, so sometimes I would act the part. Driving a Jeep it took me a kilometer or two but I caught up now nearing the bumper of the yellow blur. He tapped his breaks as I neared and took a quick exit off the highway. That got me going, here this guy was racing with another person putting my safety at risk and then when I object to his behavior he goes one step further and slams his breaks to get me off his rear end!
I kept my path down the road letting the red blur speed away, taking the next turn off the hwy I started to let the rest of my day take it’s course. Not 5 minutes later I found myself driving directly behind a very familiar yellow car on a totally different road. Still not totally recovered from the past events that I took as personal insults I was most likely driving a little closer than usual. Then it came, those oh-so familiar break lights almost on my dashboard now.
That was it for me, as we came to a traffic circle I followed the yellow car into a subdivision, it turned right at the first street and I continued straight deciding I was going to let the situation diffuse. I pulled a “U” turn and went to drive back out the traffic circle when I noticed a yellow car speeding up behind me.
Tires screeched on the pavement as I slammed on my breaks, I didn’t even have the vehicle in park before I had one leg out my door, I quickly got out and started back towards the yellow car – I’m not quite sure what I thought this was going to accomplish as I sure didn’t plan on gaining a criminal record for starting anything physical- I was about 10 ft from the driver’s side window when I saw it starting to roll down.
In that split second I realized I was making a big mistake, I didn’t know this person, what they were capable of or what that small black object was that this guy was advancing out his window. Oops – as I neared the car I thankfully realized this was in fact not a gun however it was something much worse – the sun caught the shiny metal of the little star and I realized I was staring straight at an OPP badge.
I quickly explained to this man why I was angry. It was then he explained to me that he was trying to get a picture with his phone of the red car’s license plate. I patted him on the shoulder and went back to my vehicle – as quickly as possible – wishing him a nice day. Yikes that was a big Oops.
After recollecting this story with my friend it was then I first realized I had a little road rager inside of me. I needed to change this immediately so I wrote down list of things that upset me when driving around others. These are guidelines I now follow which have helped immensely.
Leave extra allotted time for travel – tight schedules are common and keeping everything on time and on track daily is enough of a stressor, so don’t plan on making up minutes on the road this is always a recipe for disaster.
Use cruise control and use the right lane – its amazing how much more relaxed of a drive one can have when letting cruise maintain your speed,
Travel with music that soothes you rather than gets your blood pumping– driving with high intensity angry music will put you in a high intensity angry mood –
Last but not least do not drive when under stress.
We all have a little road rage inside of us at times, but in the end the law will police our roadways and we should all learn to try and be a little more friendly and peaceful with each other on our commutes. Drive with caution, take a little extra time and take a look in the mirror next time you get upset on the road- are they the culprit or are you driving around looking subconsciously looking for things to set you off.£