Road Rage

by admin on January 11, 2011

I was just reading a prior submission about road rage and I decided to submit my own story, which to this day still scares me.

Firstly, I will say that I am by no means a perfect driver. I have made mistakes, I have gotten a couple of speeding tickets, and I have had two accidents (both due to ice) in the 13 years I’ve been driving. That said, I have always taken measures to correct any errors that I made leading up to said incidents.

Anyway, a couple of years ago, I was picking a daycare child up from school. He attended a school about 20 minutes drive from our home, and when we were heading back, traffic was unusually heavy. I was on a 4-lane street, heading towards the freeway on-ramp. There was a set of lights about 100 feet from the ramp, which the traffic was stopped at. I was the second car back from the lights, and to my immediate left, there was a truck (think Ford F-350-sized). All of a sudden, in my side mirror I see a small silver truck moving towards me. I was somewhat perplexed before I realized that the driver was trying to maneuver his vehicle between the two lanes of traffic. He pushed his way through (how he managed to fit is beyond me; no one moved to let him pass) and cut to the front of the line just as the light was turning green. I memorized the license plate number and asked my charge to dial the police.

The vehicle in front of me turned right onto a street just before the ramp onto the freeway. I was turning onto the freeway while speaking to the police department on my handsfree. The silver truck was now the only vehicle in front of me. As I was accelerating to match the speed limit of the freeway, I merged into the right lane. All of a sudden, the guy slammed on his brakes, stopped his truck right there on the freeway, got out and came screaming and waving his arms angrily at me. My charge was terrified! I started yelling at the police officer on the line, “Oh my god, he’s out of his truck! He’s coming toward us!” She told me not to get out of my vehicle and not to stop. I was terrified out of my mind, so I turned to go around him. I wasn’t able to go right, so I had to go left, out into the other lane of traffic. Thankfully, the oncoming traffic had seen what was going on and had slowed down, but a bus had to swerve out onto the center shoulder to avoid crashing into all of us.

I kept driving with the police on the phone. The silver truck started to follow me, and I told the officer that I wasn’t going to go home because I was afraid he’d follow me. I drove past my exit, and thankfully he took the next one. I informed the police which direction he was heading, and it was only minutes later that I could hear sirens. I really hope they got the guy.

On a more positive note, there was another incident a few years back where my husband and I were going out of town for the weekend. We were driving on the highway, keeping to the speed limit, and a few cars flew past us going at least 20 – 30 km/h over the limit. A few of them even flipped us off. However, karma decided to intervene, and a few kilometres later we passed one of the guys who’d flipped us off on the shoulder of the highway with a flat tire. I have to say, I smiled a little that day. 0108-11

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Giles January 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm

The way people behave when they’re in cars never ceases to amaze me. We spent two weeks this summer in Nova Scotia, which is infamous for tricky road work because of its hills, mountains, and low budgets. We were held up by particularly awkward construction at a four-way stop and you would not believe people trying to wriggle their cars through the lanes of traffic, getting out and yelling at the poor flagpeople, and honking their horns. To make matters worse, there was a train rail behind one way and people were pulling up onto it with cars pulling directly behind them. I actually don’t know why someone wasn’t killed that day by getting hit by a train. Is it really worse risking your life to be a few feet further ahead in a line that’s not going anywhere.

I just try to let it all go. It’s helped that my kids showed me how to put ebooks on my phone. I can just kick back for a few minutes with a book while everyone around me is going ballistic.

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nicolecj January 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm

My favorite is, we live in a northern state, when it is icy out and all the cars form a slow moving line in one lane for safety and you see the four wheel drive truck coming up the other lane at full speed (i drive a 4 wheel drive vehicle, but you won’t see me pulling that stunt. 4 wheel drive does not help with the whole ‘stopping’ action!) Everytime you just continue your snails pace in the line, and you will see at least half of the vehicles in ditchs at the first curve in the road. I always giggle at them, although it might not be the nicest thing to do I think it is Karma’s way of telling them to slow down. Thankfully, since this state has a lot of snow and ice, the roads department always has nice comfy ditchs to catch them so they don’t hit any trees or anything, leaving us free to laugh at the uninjured slide offs.

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Angie January 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I love it when people zoom past me on an icy road, giving me the finger for going the speed limit, and then I see them buried in a snowbank a few miles on.

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Elicat January 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm

As someone who’s been commuting 2 hours a day for 20 years, I can tell you: People are nuts when they drive. New York State has a very good section in their drivers manual about road rage at http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/dmanual/chapter08-manual.htm. And, as the OP mentions, it surely helps to include all local, country, and state policy in your cell phone contacts.

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Ashley January 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm

The first incident is scary. I once had someone follow me, but never get out of their car to yell at me…I hope they got the guy too. EVERYONE has some small incorrect thing that they have done in traffic, but forcing your way BETWEEN lanes? That’s just begging for trouble. Good for you to listening to the person on the line, and making what was probably a wise decision not to go home. A smaller pet peeve of mine, I hate people who have no filter around children. As mad as that guy was, he could have been CALM about it and not scared an innocent child.

As for the second smaller incident, what perfect justice. I love when that happens. Whenever my fiance and I get passed by somebody doing WAY over the speed limit, we always just jokingly say “I hope he finds that cop for me”. Then we get an extra good laugh when a few miles down the road we see that they DID find the cop.

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Enna January 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm

It was good thinking not to drive home. That man was a mad idiot.

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RP January 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I wonder why he flew off the handle like that? Even if he saw you on the phone, there’s no way that he could know that you were talking about him. Does he not realize that the freeway doesn’t belong to him and others are allowed to drive on it too?

That was a scary situation and I’m glad you’re OK.

I’ve also had the experience of someone flying around me only to be stopped by the police. (Pro-tip: If everyone in front of you is slowing down, there’s probably a reason.)

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Gloria Shiner January 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm

One night in upstate New York we were driving home after a holiday break with blowing snow, lots of black ice and very cold temperatures. Several of us had had problems and had eased to the side of the road and stopped. Complete strangers had gotten out of their cars and were helping each other get unstuck and back on the road. Suddenly a car came barreling down the road honking and skidding and sliding. The car had only a small spot cleared for the driver to see out the windshield; otherwise all the windows were frosted over. It narrowly missed several people as we all yelled for him to slow down.

The speed the car was going carried it about a hundred feet past the rest of us before it spun out and went flying off the road and landed in a deep snow drift. The driver actually walked back and demanded that someone help dig out his car as he was in a hurry! The rest of told him to have a nice wait for a tow truck as we continued to help each other and go on our way.

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Jenny January 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm

YIKES! I once was driving to the local community college where the guy in front of me slammed on his brakes so hard I had to slam on mine so that I wouldnt rear-end him. As I did this apparently I threw my hands up at the same time. The guy turned into a parking lot and then somehow ended up behind me. He followed me all the way to my parking space at school and sat in his truck blocking my spot. I just sat there terrified to get out to which he left. I later found out that this same guy had apparently been doing the same thing to other women on campus and he got arrested :/

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PattyAnne January 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Road rage runs crazy where I live. I’m actually friends with someone on a popular network site, that is proud of the fact that they and I quote “have the nerve to get out of my car and scream at the a^#$^$* that was tailgating me!! I even kicked his front bumper!! LOL” People like that scare me on the road.

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Mjaye January 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I hate the way people drive in the snow around here, suburbs of Philadelphia. I was driving home from work one afternoon in a snow storm. I only lived two miles but there were a couple of hills. I am going upa hill, doing about 25 since there was traffic and the speed limit is only 35 normally. This sports car is right behind me and I can see the driver yelling. Since it was a two lane road, I guess I could have leap-frogged over the other cars. The car in front of me tapped his brakes, I did the same. the driver beyond me slammed on his brakes and skidded off the road. Evil MJaye was happy but I did call the local police to let them know about a moron on the side of the road.

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Brenda Sorenson January 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Thankfully, you had the presence of mind to contact the police during the incident.

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Threepenny January 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm

I totally agree with most posters about how some people are just flat out crazy drivers, but find those who are laughing at others’ misfortunes of ending up in a ditch and labeling it as “karma” might want to watch out for some “karma” of their own. Regardless of whether or not these people acted like idiots, something misfortunate happened to them and to laugh at that isn’t exactly what I think the karma powers that be smile at (if there are such things; besides, the term “karma” is being quite misused as it is).

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AS January 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Some drivers never fail to amaze me. Glad you were already talking to the police. Hope he got punished, because people like him can land other drivers in danger.

This reminds me of an incidence that happened to me a while ago. My boyfriend and I were once driving to a ski resort for the weekend, and we started around 8:00PM on a Friday after work. This was obviously during winter, and it had been snowing. There wasn’t much of snow accumulated at that point, but as those of us who have driven during snow know that the roads can be pretty slippery, and hence we were driving cautiously though never more than 5Miles below the speed limit. I was behind the wheel when this incident took place.
We were entering a tunnel at a particularly slippery road, and I chose to be on the right lane so that cars which want to overtake can do so. Once we entered the tunnel, we stuck to the speed limit. I had my eye on the speedometer, and I know that I wasn’t slowing down. There was a full sized freight truck behind us, and he started flashing his lights (which I assume was telling me to speed up). I ignored him, and he started tailgating me really close (note- we are going at 65mph in a tunnel on a snowy night!). I wasn’t sure what to do, and just decided to concentrate on the road. When we got off the tunnel, and we could change lanes, I moved to the left lane and let the truck pass (on this road, trucks are supposed to go only on right lanes). After driving for another half hour or so, we somehow found the truck again overtook it (he had probably slowed down). When the driver saw that it was our car again, he got really angry. He rolled down his window and started yelling at us (no idea what he said as we just kept driving). Then when we passed him and moved back to the left lane, he started speeding up and going zig-zag. We got so scarred that I drove fast and kept trying to maintain safe enough distance from the truck. To our relief, he took an exit not much later, and we could drive peacefully.
Visibility was not too clear and we didn’t want to be anywhere close to him, otherwise my boyfriend would have noted the number for the truck and called the police.

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Maitri January 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm

My DH and I love to laugh at people getting mad in traffic. It’s almost a progression – first you see them cussing, then you see the head flinging around, hands flying up, and then they grab the wheel and start banging their head .. it’s hilarious :D Why get so mad? If you’re that late, leave 10 minutes earlier. Simple.

I have never been in such a hurry that I would risk my safety, a stranger’s safety, or god forbid my children’s safety, to speed and/or drive unsafely in bad conditions.

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LovleAnjel January 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm

OP did the right thing – call the police and follow their directions. Cars seem to become echo chambers when people get angry.

I too have shared the joy of being tailgated and passed by a speeder, only to see them getting a ticket a few miles down the road. Although, if they got a flat tire I would pull over to help them anyway. Maybe they would learn to be nicer to the slower motorists.

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Simone January 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm

You handled this really well, but what a scary experience!

I was at a family dinner once when some of the guests started talking about people doing stupid or inconsiderate things on the road. Of course we all had a story about that. Then one of the guests started talking about something someone did (fairly minor, not life threatening, just rude) and said that they tried to follow them home so that they could punch them (luckily the other car was also speeding and so just disappeared). There was about 20 seconds of total silence before his sister said “And you don’t think that was a bit of an over-reaction at all?” It was very out of character for this guy so everyone was so shocked. I think he got the message.

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Kelly January 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I’ve been the victim of two road rage incidents, both of which were majorly scary – the first one involved a meth user with a gun, the second a guy who threatened to kill my husband and I, even after I apologized for the alleged cut-off – but perhaps I should save those to write up for this site! They are epic.

More recently I was driving along Clark in Andersonville, which is a nice boutiquey shopping area here. A guy started to pull out of a parking space right in front of me, so I swerved, just missing him, and honked. He stopped when I honked, but then whipped out immediately (cutting off the car behind him) and got right up to my bumper and really laid on the horn. I looked in my rearview mirror to see this little old man cussing and making obscene gestures as he honked. I just laughed and shook my head, thinking to myself, guy, you are the least scary dude who has gone road rage on me. I think my total lack of response discouraged him, and he turned on a side street and disappeared.

Incidentally, that is what you should do when confronted by a road rager – nothing. Call the police and do not react. After my scary driving experiences I do not flip people off, mouth off to them, or anything like that. It just isn’t worth it.

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Heather January 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I was driving down the (busy, main) road and had a lady pull out in front of me from a parking lot. I had to slam on my brakes, and I honked my horn at the same time. Lucky for me the driver behind me was keeping a respectful distance, so I didn’t get rear ended. The lady in the car then flipped me off like it was my fault she nearly caused an accident and proceeded to swerve in and out of traffic like an idiot.

Sweet, sweet revenge was two cars behind me in the form of a police car, he was behind the car that was right behind me. Apparently he saw everything because the crazy driver was quickly pulled over! It made my week! People are always saying “There’s never a cop when you need one.” but there was one there that day! It was AWESOME!

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irish January 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I agree with Brenda Sorenson, I often see incidents on the road that stun me, and it only occurs to me afterwards that I should have got the registration plate and reported them. If more people could do this there would be a greater deterrant to aggressive drivers.

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jen January 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Ugh, road rage. People can get crazy. I remember driving once with my mother (who is extremely cautious). There was a person on a bicycle ahead of us, and there wasn’t enough room on the road to pass him. Mom followed behind slowly. I remember it being a really hot day, and we had our windows down. I kept hearing this weird screeching noise behind me. It sounded a bit like an angry cat. Mom and I kept trying to figure out where it was coming from. Anyways, we finally got to a section of the road with plenty of room to safely pass the biker. As Mom went to pull out, and car pulled out from behind us first. A lady leaned out the window and shrieked: “For God’s sake!!! Move off the ****in road!!!” She was red-faced and had a crazy look on her face. She also looked like she was looking for an argument. Mom and I looked at her for a moment, then started laughing hysterically. That explained the angry cat noise! The lady had been yelling at us for at least 5 minutes. She sped off, but we got a laugh out of it. I wish people could see themselves when they get that angry. It isn’t pretty.

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Ali January 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm

I once had a guy come up behind me (when I was going the exact speed limit), flash his lights, then pull around me flicking me off. Of course, after he had zoomed around he could see that I was going the exact speed limit… and matching the speed (at a proper distance) of the state trooper right in front of me. (If a state trooper is going the exact speed limit, you know exactly what they are looking for). Needless to say, I got great satisfaction out of seeing him pulled over.

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Ali January 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Oh yes, I have stood in front of a car and refused to let him move. However, the reason was, he was trying to execute a right turn on green, while a mother with two little kids was trying to cross the road. He nearly ran over the two year old and tried to keep driving into them, than had to audacity to honk his horn at them (one of those long blasts). So I stood in front of him, pointed at the “Yield to Pedestrians” sign, and stared at him for a whole light cycle. You don’t try to run down a woman and her little kids. I probably could have got in trouble for that, but I don’t care.

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Kimberly January 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm

I was driving to work and this got mad at me. I’m not sure why, I was behind him and not tailgating. When I moved to the exit lane he suddenly slowed down and got behind me and tailgated me. He followed me off the exit. I would have thought he was just getting off but he followed me past the turn to my school. The only thing down that road is the school and houses. It felt hinky but another staff member came up behind and started honking at the guy and he took off.

Turn out she had been behind me when he started tailgating me. She could see him flipping me off and looking like he was screaming at me on the highway. She said he was nuts that I hadn’t been driving dangerously. I made sure to locate both the PD’s and the sheriff’s location after that.

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kero January 11, 2011 at 8:56 pm

There must have been a lot of space between the vehicles for a truck to maneuver around like that. In LA, it’s not uncommon to change lanes like that on a red light and does not warrant a police call. It sounded like he really needed to get onto the freeway, although why he stepped out and started to wave his arms around…..that’s a nutjob.

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Chloe January 12, 2011 at 12:04 am

Nova Scotia (my home!) is notorious for awful drivers. One of the worst places, being the parking lots at my university. You can get cut off 5 times in under a minute, because people drive so insane looking for parking spaces. (while parking is limited, you can always find space behind the dorms. Some people just don’t want to walk that far)

One of the scariest things that happened there, would be the one time I was pulling in to a space. A car was backing out, and I had my signal on, indicating that I was going to pull in. As the car pulled out and I was about to pull in, a car sped up to a high speed and flew in to the spot cutting me off. They near hit me. I’ve also had people follow behind me slowly (matching my walking pace) in the parking lot as I’m walking to my vehicle and then honk at me like crazy if I don’t move immediately (even if I’m not in the car .. just getting something out of it) and then freak out when I lock my car and walk away from it. Sometimes when they follow me while I’m walking, I’ll walk right past my car and do a lap around the parking lot just to teach them a lesson for being a creep.

I’ve also had my share of just plain jerks, on the highway. Once, I was trying to get into the lane on my right and there was a truck. If I’d speed up, he’d match my speed. If I slowed down, he’d match my speed. I’d glance over, and he flipped me off (why ? I don’t know. Maybe he thought I was someone else). I also hate when people drive like, 80km on the highway when the max is 100, and you go to pass them and they speed up (which by law, is considered to be reckless driving). Road ragers scare me. Honestly, if you have somewhere to get to so bad, why not leave earlier ?

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IzzyforRealz January 12, 2011 at 12:06 am

I will admit to speeding, mostly on the country roads that surround my home, but never more than five or ten miles over. Most cars do at least 10 over with many doing 15-20. I was in front of one of them, going 10 over, which apparently wasn’t fast enough. This car proceeded to pass me, which usually I welcome. I’d rather have impatient people in front of me driving away than behind me possibly endangering my life. The catch is that there was a car in the oncoming traffic lane (it was a 2 lane road). The person in the incoming lane had to drive off the road onto the shoulder to avoid the jerkface who HAD to pass me AT THAT EXACT MOMENT. He almost caused an accident at high speeds that could have killed us all. Of course I didn’t have the county police phone number in my phone yet, so I was unable to report him for reckless driving and failure to signal. I really want to know if getting somewhere five minutes faster is worth my life and the life of other drivers/passengers.

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Catwhisperer January 12, 2011 at 1:02 am

Safety trumps etiquette in all situations. And that goes double with anything that happens behind the wheel.

When someone in a car around you does something crazy/dangerous, your best, safest move is to do what you can to stay out of their way: move aside if you have to, stop, slow down, whatever you can safely do to put distance between you and the other driver.

I’ve been in similar situations to the OP, and I just let the other driver go. That’s because I didn’t know if the other driver was a gang-banger trying to get away from an attack or robbery, I didn’t know if the other driver was on drugs or drunk, I didn’t know if the other driver was mentally impaired, or what was going on. I just knew by the way they drove their car that they had reckless disregard for both law and safety. And that’s all I needed to know to convince me to let them get far, far, far away from me.

Calling the police like the OP did might be an option in such a situation, but only if the situation is such that it can be done safely and without provoking the other driver. FWIW, there have been cases of road rage where on driver shot another because of the way the other driver looked at the shooter. If you can’t call and report someone without distancing yourself from them and keeping yourself safe, then don’t try to call the police.

I’ve been a witness to some pretty incredible things in driving the Southern California freeways and roads for 40 years now. I’ve seen people throwing things at each other from car-to-car, I’ve seen people stop their cars and get out and fight, I’ve seen someone come tearing up the shoulder of a freeway onramp with three police cars in pursuit, I’ve seen screaming people fighting in a car and hitting each other, all that besides the usual kinds of things like being cut off, sideswiped, tailgated, and so forth.

And my response has been what my driver training teacher taught me when I was 16 years old: when things get crazy, concentrate on driving as safely as I can and putting distance between myself and the craziness. That way I don’t become a statistic.

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OP January 12, 2011 at 1:15 am

@kero – People in LA “change lanes” by driving between two of them? Remind me never to drive in LA.

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Catwhisperer January 12, 2011 at 1:40 am

Just gotta add a story I read somewhere in a travel magazine.

The writer was an American new to driving in rural England. In many parts of the English countryside, the roads are very narrow and have very tall hedges on both sides that really limit visibilities on the turns and curves. The roads are also narrow, in many places barely wide enough for two-way traffic.

So the writer was making his cautious way down one of these hedge-lined country roads, when another car came careening around a turn, forcing him to almost swerve into the hedge to avoid her. As she came alongside him, the driver of the car leaned out her window and shrieked “PIG!” at him.

Almost reflexively, he in his turn shrieked “COW!” at her. And as he went around the turn congratulating himself on his quick wit in responding to her insult, he found himself having to stand on the brakes to stop to avoid hitting a very large pig that was standing in the middle of the road…

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Angie January 12, 2011 at 1:53 am

A while ago I stopped at an uncontrolled intersection so that a man in a wheelchair could cross. I had people honking behind me. It was already dark and a poorly lit area, so the people farther back probably couldn’t see the man in the wheelchair, but usually if someone is stopped there’s a good reason.

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Lizza January 12, 2011 at 2:17 am

@kero – I would think the whole “driving between two cars in a non-lane and cutting one of them off when the light changed” would be considered a dangerous/hazardous thing and warrant a call to the police.

I’ve never had a truly awful road-rage experience (though my boyfriend tends to get easily irritated when driving, but he just mutters comments about the “bad” drivers and never gets out of the car or anything crazy), but you see a lot of idiots out on the roads here in the winter. Never fails, there’s three inches of snow on the ground and buckets falling from the sky, and at least one asshole thinks s/he has to go ten miles above the speed limit and tailgate you.

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nicolecj January 12, 2011 at 8:39 am

@ Threepenny

There is a certain Karmic value in a person believing that what everyone else is doing for safety is wrong and when the go blasting by, endangering all the people that are trying to be safe, they only end up harming themselves.

Have you ever heard the phrase, sometimes you have to laugh otherwise you would have to cry? I would rather find small amusements in the realities of daily life than rag on a bunch of people that have found a small bit of amusement in people doing a thing that everyone warns them not to, and encountering the bad thing everyone warned them about as a result of their actions.

To each there own, but I don’t think Karma (or Carma in this case – couldn’t resist the pun) is overused in the least and if people think this is a result of it, let them. It is not yours to condemn them. If you think they are being silly and vapid, laugh about it, don’t pout on the board because they used a word that you don’t agree with.

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Michelle P January 12, 2011 at 9:39 am

I agree with threepenny; although it’s frustrating when people act crazy, it’s really not funny when other people wind up in the ditch or worse, even when it’s their fault.

However, I have to say it tickled me once when a group of teenagers got pulled over right after tailgating and honking at me. I turned right out of my neighborhood; they were approaching and going way too fast. They had plenty of time to get over before I pulled out, but oh no, they had to honk the horn and yell passing me. About five minutes later, I saw a cop pulling them over. No, I wouldn’t have laughed if they’d crashed, but I can’t say I didn’t giggle to see them getting a ticket.

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Amber January 12, 2011 at 9:40 am

The only really dangerous road rage incident I’ve been a part of was at a four-way stop on the way to classes. This all happened in a matter of seconds. The stop was a residential road (25 mph) intersecting a regular road (45 mph). It was my turn, and I was turning left. I had noticed a car coming up on my right side, but thought nothing of it (she had a stop sign, I assumed she would slow down) until I was almost midway in the intersection. The car blares its horn at me and the woman within is on a cell phone, screaming angrily and pointing at me. I cried aloud “Oh my GOD she’s not STOPPING!” as I punched the breaks. She zoomed passed me going something around the 45 mph speed limit, swerving a little to get around the nose of my car.

I can imagine the carnage if she had hit us. There were two others in the car with me, both sitting on the passenger side. She was in an SUV, I was in a ’90 T-Bird. I was shaken enough that I sat for a few seconds in the intersection. The person on the other side of the street’s jaw was hanging wide open, and his eyes were all buggy. He caught my eye and shook his head. Scary.

If

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Chloe January 12, 2011 at 9:58 am

Nova Scotia (my home!) is notorious for awful drivers. One of the worst places, being the parking lots at my university. You can get cut off 5 times in under a minute, because people drive so insane looking for parking spaces. (while parking is limited, you can always find space behind the dorms. Some people just don’t want to walk that far)

One of the scariest things that happened there, would be the one time I was pulling in to a space. A car was backing out, and I had my signal on, indicating that I was going to pull in. As the car pulled out and I was about to pull in, a car sped up to a high speed and flew in to the spot cutting me off. They near hit me. I’ve also had people follow behind me slowly (matching my walking pace) in the parking lot as I’m walking to my vehicle and then honk at me like crazy if I don’t move immediately (even if I’m not in the car .. just getting something out of it) and then freak out when I lock my car and walk away from it. Sometimes when they follow me while I’m walking, I’ll walk right past my car and do a lap around the parking lot just to teach them a lesson for being a creep.

I’ve also had my share of just plain jerks, on the highway. Once, I was trying to get into the lane on my right and there was a truck. If I’d speed up, he’d match my speed. If I slowed down, he’d match my speed. I’d glance over, and he flipped me off (why ? I don’t know. Maybe he thought I was someone else). I also hate when people drive like, 80km on the highway when the max is 100, and you go to pass them and they speed up (which by law, is considered to be reckless driving). Road ragers scare me. Honestly, if you have somewhere to get to so bad, why not leave earlier ?

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Goldie January 12, 2011 at 10:25 am

@ Ashley #5: “Whenever my fiance and I get passed by somebody doing WAY over the speed limit, we always just jokingly say “I hope he finds that cop for me”. ”

I’ve heard there is a term for this kind of driver – apparently they’re called sponsors, for the exact reason that they end up paying the speeding ticket that someone else otherwise might ;)

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Gemma January 12, 2011 at 10:54 am

Good thinking not to drive home. If you know where it is, the best idea is to drive straight to the police station.

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Threepenny January 12, 2011 at 11:29 am

@nicolecj: I hardly call it “pouting” (and, incidentally, I find it interesting to note that when I once referred to another poster as “pouting” the mods were ALL OVER me for it, yet that does not seem to apply here?). MANY others in the past have pointed out how misused the word “Karma” is on this board, and this is no exception.

I am “condemning” no one – merely pointing out that laughing at someone’s misfortune of landing in a ditch or snowbank – possibly injured (and if the person laughing doesn’t get out to check then that person cannot say unequivocally that the person in the ditch is NOT injured) – even if such predicament is due to his or her own careless action – is not earning him or herself any special points, either.

Now, I can completely see snickering at the speeder who cut one off only to get pulled over shortly thereafter; that makes sense. However, I find nothing funny about someone having an accident – whether his/her fault or not, and to laugh at someone in that situation is hardly angelic behavior.

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NINA January 12, 2011 at 11:35 am

Here in the Florida Keys, the tourists have an unfortunate habit of stopping on the bridges, and I mean right in the middle of the travel lanes, to take pictures. So you’re traveling along, you come up the grade over the top of the bridge, and there’s a car stopped in the middle of the lane, with tourists out of the car, taking pictures. We have LOTS of accidents down here.

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DGS January 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Certainly, there are many terrible drivers out there (although judging by all the comments below, if all of us are such great drivers, why are there so many crazy ones out there), but my hope is that whenever someone sees anyone stuck in a snowbank, or in any kind of trouble in general, by the side of the road, no matter how irresponsible or obnoxious that person had been, nobody actually thinks “Ah-ha, Karma got that lousy SOB”! That is awfully unkind. Let’s try to avoid wishing misfortune on other people.

A younger cousin of mine had been a young, irresponsible and rather obnoxious driver. He was in his late adolescence, so his judgment left something to be desired (our frontal lobes do not fully develop until we’re in our 20′s). Trying to overtake a particularly slow car on a narrow road, he, being legitimately in the wrong and exercising very poor judgment, indeed by engaging in that act, lost control of the car, hit a tree and was killed. Certainly, he had been an obnoxious inexperienced driver, but to say that karma got him would be very callous.

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stellanor January 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I once cut someone off on accident pretty early in my driving career (I was in my late teens). The guy brake-checked me, then started driving again, slowed down to let me go past, cut me off, and brake-checked me again. He did this four or five times more, then got in front of me and started hurling garbage out the window of his car back at mine.

I wish in retrospect I’d had the presence of mind to get the guy’s plate number and call the police, but I was a teenager and FREAKING OUT. Yes, I was in the wrong for cutting him off, but it was a genuine accident and there’s NO justification for harassing someone that way.

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Xtina January 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Ditto what Giles said–I really, really don’t understand how come some people drive and behave the way they do. I am glad that this person in the silver truck didn’t harm the OP–I’m still scratching my head wondering what the heck he targeted her for–certainly he couldn’t have known that she was calling the police, and if he did–well, that just proves that he knew he was doing something wrong, too.

I guess not to retaliate is the best thing you can do lest if further enrage the road-rager (even though it’s tempting). I was once traveling a road about 3 miles long and a man in an SUV cut me off very sharply, two times (he would speed up, slow down, change lanes, and twice he managed to cut in front of me). So the second time, I honked at him, very briefly, and continued driving and minding my own business. No reaction from him, and he remained in front of me as we got onto a major 8-lane-wide freeway. Once we entered the highway, he started a barrage of harrassment. He would keep in front of me and slam on his brakes, then speed up and race away. I’d change lanes, and he’d do the same–all the time, keeping in front of me, only to then slam on his brakes in an attempt to cause me to run into the back of him. He wouldn’t let me pass him, and it was torture driving a few miles as other cars whizzed by us and this dangerous moron was braking and speeding off, switching lanes wildly, and making it his business to antagonize me. Eventually, he pulled off on an exit, all the while gesturing and screaming at me, and flipping me off. What a freak.

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Catwhisperer January 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm

What Angie said: “…usually if someone is stopped [at a crosswalk] there’s a good reason.”

My older brother once came to a cross-walk on a four-lane (two lanes each direction) main street in the LA area. The car in the right lane was stopped. He was in the next lane over, and he assumed there was someone crossing, so he stopped.

The driver of the car behind him, seeing two cars stopped at a clearly marked crosswalk in broad daylight, decided she didn’t want to stop and pulled out into the next lane over, and sure enough she hit the little girl who’d been crossing in the crosswalk.

Fortunately the little girl wasn’t badly hurt; my brother and the other driver who had stopped got out of their cars and called 911. My brother said he and the other driver who had stopped were yelling at the driver who’d hit the girl, who kept repeating over and over that she didn’t know anyone had been in the crosswalk. In broad daylight with two other cars obviously stopped for someone…I swear that there are people who must have gotten their driver’s licenses with two box-tops and fifty cents, I can’t imagine how else people so stupid can get a license.

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kero January 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm

@OP, Lizza:
When the OP writes “maneuver his vehicle between the two lanes of traffic” I did not envision roads wide enough that three cars can fit at the same time (the culprit driving on the line), I imagined a guy moving/changing between 2 lanes that I would see in tight LA traffic. If the roads are that wide, then I misunderstood and yes it is dangerous.

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Jack January 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

A few years ago, during my Senior year of highschool, two of my classmates were actually killed due to road rage. No one is completely sure what happened that day, but as the story goes, the two students(boyfriend and girlfriend) were picking up a cake from a bakery along a popular road during Easter on route to a family get together. At some point, it was alleged that they were going too fast and possibly cut someone off(this was a big MAYBE, as since they were merging into the road they theoretically had to cut SOMEONE off at some point just to get in), as teenagers who just get their license’s tend to do. The car that they had possibly cut off, then decided to reciprocate and themselves cut the student’s off; this in turn caused the students to lose control of their car and swerve into a tree, which their car wrapped around. The girl passed away on site, but the boy was taken to a local hospital before he too passed. To make matters worse, some of the first responders to this accident were student volunteers(local college students who graduated from our school only a year or two prior) who knew both the students…I don’t think they’ve ever really recovered from seeing their friends that way.

I wish that more people would realize that road rage can kill people. By cutting someone off or honking or anything else that people do, you are risking lives by either obstructing traffic as with the OP or distracting drivers(including yourself). I’ll admit that I don’t always drive the speed limit, and that sometimes other drivers make me angry, but I try not to let it get the best of me. I’ve even pulled off the road a few times in the past when I felt unsafe, either from what others were doing or how I personally felt at the time.

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Kat January 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm

This post reminds me of something I’ve never understood. I live in Chicago (although I’m sure this happens all over) and when driving on the interstate, it’s very typical for cars to accelerate when they see that you’re trying to change lanes – even if they’re a good 20 feet behind you. It is SO IMPORTANT to these people that you not get in front of them, that they not be delayed by even a car-length. They’ll run you off the road before they’ll let you in.

Why do people do this? I truly do not understand. I make it a practice to let one person get in ahead of me if there are a few trying to merge in – this seems to be the definition of “merging” – and I’ve often noticed in my rearview mirror the driver behind me scowling because he can’t stand to have one car enter the lane of traffic he’s in!

Can anyone explain this to me?

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Simone January 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

@Kat – they’re ridiculaously overcompetitive jerks who refuse to take responsibility for reaching their destination on time?

Best explanation I can think of…

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hammiesmom January 12, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Once while driving down the autobahn in Germany I was passed (yes, I was in the right hand lane thank goodness) by a lovely red Ferrari going about 120 MPH. Yes, miles per hour. The speed limit on the autobahn (unless posted) is the speed that is safe for conditions. I just smiled and drove my little car about 60 – 65 MPH. About 3 miles down the road I started to see bits and pieces of red little car off of the side of the road. This continued for about 1/2 a mile and then I saw a police car, officer out the side of the road, talking to the upright driver (I did manage to catch a glimpse of him when he passed). Don’t ask me how he walked away from that one but I would have hated to see the accident of the little TOTTALED Ferrari. No road rage needed for that encounter!

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jessiebird January 13, 2011 at 2:31 am

I remember when I was 15, on a learner’s permit, driving on the interstate on a family vacation, with my father in the passenger seat. I was in the left lane, going the speed limit. Little did I know that I was also lined up with the car next to me, thereby blocking the traffic behind us. I had thought the two lanes were for driving, and for some reason didn’t learn that the left lane was for passing. (My driving instructor in our rural town was more interested in getting his payments than teaching. He left me at his home alone with his teenage son to try and talk him out of smoking marijuana because he thought I seemed like a nice girl and a good influence. In hindsight, could have been a bad situation!) Anyway, my Dad just watched, not letting me know that the cars were building up behind us. I guess he expected me to figure it out. Anyway, when I finally pulled into the right lane, another car zoomed up, pulled right in front of our large van, and hit his brakes nearly to a stop. Fortunately I reacted quickly enough to hit the brakes, not always a given with a young driver, and we didn’t have an accident. I still think of how that man thought I was a jerk, when I was really an inexperienced driver who was not being taught by my instructors/elders.

Another time, I returned to the States after having spent time in Seoul. I had mastered the tricks of driving in a very congested, aggressive city, and forgot people on wide, Midwestern roads wouldn’t be used to it. I think I cut someone off once to make a turn into a restaurant with my sister. The guy followed me, parked with us, then got out of the car and came at me screaming,”You F&%ing b%$tch!” I was shocked and just said,”Sorry. Sorry.” I didn’t even understand what the problem was. Fortunately, he went away. I feel bad now for cutting him off, but I also think that if he had the wherewithal to follow my immediate turn, it wasn’t necessarily that egregious of a cut-off. That is, he didn’t miss the turn recovering from my maneuver. I think it was more of an ego bruise, and probably a little too close for comfort…or maybe he was just a jerk.

The crosswalk hittings are scary stories, now that I have a child.

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