I have a story of road rage to share.
I grew up, and learned to drive, in Seattle, WA, which is a pretty tame city when it comes to drivers. However, one afternoon, about a year after I’d gotten my license, I was driving downtown for one of the many festivals held at Seattle Center during the year. As I was 17 or 18 at the time, I admit I was driving a little on the fast side, but only about 5 mph over the speed limit. I was driving down a road with two lanes going each direction and a middle turning lane. I was in the left lane and I noticed a car on one of the side roads waiting to make a left turn onto the road I was on. They pulled out into the center lane a little ways in front of me. I could tell they wanted into my lane, but I knew I had the right of way and it would probably be more dangerous for me to slow down and let them in than for me to continue at the speed I was going and let them pull in behind me. There were very few cars around and I knew they wouldn’t have long to wait. So I continued without decreasing my speed.
The car pulled in behind me, then immediately crossed into the right lane and drove very quickly around me and cut right in front of me. Keep in mind I was going just over the speed limit at this point, so they were definitely speeding. I saw that the car was full of kids about my age, maybe in their late teens or early twenties. All of them turned around and showed me their middle fingers, opening the windows to flip me off, including the driver. Shortly after that, we came to a red light. The car in front of me stopped, and without the arduous task of paying attention to the road, all the occupants turned their attention to me, flipping me the bird and yelling. I was young and knew I wasn’t in the wrong, and had never experienced road rage before. So I did something I regret and will never do again: I flipped them the bird back. Well, this really set them off, and as we went around the turn after the red light, I somehow got up next to them again. I could see out of the corner of my eye that they had rolled down the windows and had what looked like several bags from McDonalds. They started throwing hamburgers and fries at my car. At that point, I was a little scared and figured the best thing I could do would be to ignore them and slow down to let them get well ahead of me. Just before they took off in the direction of downtown, one of the kids threw what I think was an orange at my car. It made quite a thud and I’m sure was big enough to cause problems for any cars behind us. I’m surprised it didn’t dent my car.
That experience taught me a very valuable lesson, and now I will never, under any circumstances flip another driver off or do anything to encourage road rage. 0703-10
Retaliatory Bird Flipping Will Escalate The Road Rage
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