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Road Rage

2002 Archive
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1. I attend a university in a fairly large city; finding a parking place around school is sometimes difficult. A week ago, I was standing outside the parking garage with a friend and we watched as a man in a minivan pulled to the front of a parallel space (to back in) with his right blinker flashing. Because this was a spot at a street corner, it looked like he was sitting in the right turn lane to turn down the next street, and a student whipped into the space as Minivan Man was preparing to reverse. 

Minivan Man absolutely lost it. He parked his van in the middle of the road and jumped out (traffic backing up behind him, and they couldn't even get around because he left his driver door open!), stomped over to the window of the student's car, and started screaming--screaming!-- about how that was his space, and "You'll pay for this buddy-- mark my words-- this will come back to you! These things always do! You remember this!!" The student seemed apologetic (it really did seem an accident), but if it had been me, I would have just given up the space. Minivan Man was such a psycho that he followed the student in his van while he was walking to class, menacingly warning him (again and again and again!) that this horrible moral failure would come back to haunt him. The worst part was that Minivan man probably inconvenienced twenty other drivers by parking himself in the middle of the road and there were plenty of other parking spots within sight of the one he was ready to fight for.

2. I drive a 25 year old diesel station wagon. It's a good, reliable vehicle-- but not speedy, particularly upon initial acceleration. This means that I need a lot more space to pull out into traffic than a typical car. I was at a light in a left turn lane in a busy shopping district; it's always a difficult left to make, but there is a green arrow every few minutes, so I never risk pulling out unless I know I can make it... two minutes loss isn't worth the risk! I had been at the front of the lane for less than fifteen seconds, and there had been no space in which even a quick car could have turned, when the truck behind me started honking. Not short "reminder" bursts, but long, continuous honking. It was so uncalled for that it took me a while to realize he was honking at me. I ignored him, and we nevertheless both turned without having to wait for the green arrow. 

He was obviously still upset him me, pulled up beside me and tried to get my attention, but wanting to avoid confrontation, I didn't even look at him; at the next light, however, he was stopped beside me and kept honking continuously. I started wondering (since I really had done NOTHING unreasonable) if he had noticed something wrong with my car, so I finally looked over. He and his buddy were gesturing for me to roll down my window, so I (stupidly!) did-- he proceeded to yell at me, gesturing, etc, until finally he sneered at me, "The light's green," (I hadn't noticed while I was being screamed at!) and pulled away, laughing with his friend. I am a twenty-two year old girl, and I really do make an effort to be a safe, courteous driver; he was so mean, and I was so upset by the whole episode (how angry of a person would you have to be to be a forty year old man screaming at a young girl in a beat up station wagon?) that I cried all the way home. 



A few years ago, my husband and I we were driving home through a busy intersection. We had a green light, and as we go through, a van trying to turn right on the red lays on the horn when we go past him, because he wanted to zoom out in front of us. Not honks, but absolutely leans on it for about ten seconds. Yes, in BC you can turn right on the red, provided that you yield to right-of-way traffic. As we were going straight through a green light, it's completely obvious that we had the right of way.

Anyway, my husband, who's driving, lifts his hand (NOT his middle finger) in a "what the heck is your problem?" gesture. This only enrages the idiot, who then tries to pass on the shoulder. I mean, dodging parked cars and pedestrians and almost going up on the sidewalk and everything! My husband moves over to prevent him from passing, as this could cause an accident, whereupon the man flips us the bird, shouting and swearing. Finally, at the next intersection, (a four-way stop) he loops around us on the shoulder and zooms past us through the intersection in a completely illegal move, nearly hitting another car as he fingers us, still shouting and swearing.

The kicker? He had HIS CHILDREN in the car! Three kids, a boy of about 6 or 7 in the front passenger seat, and in the back, a girl of about 4 or 5 and a baby in a baby seat! I cannot understand how anybody could be so irresponsible with the lives of his own children. (And what a great lesson for them to learn from dear old dad).

I hoped that a cop would catch him before he ends up killing himself, and maybe even his kids.

The second story is actually quite funny. I was maybe 7 1/2 at the time, and my sister was about 5. My dad was driving through this area that floods every spring. Because of that, he was obviously going quite slow, as the water level on the road was high, and he didn't want to choke the engine.

Anyway, this teenager (couldn't have been more than eighteen) goes flying past us, of course honking and fingering. But, poetic justice! His car stalls about 5 meters ahead of us, because the water choked his engine. My dad laughs, and says "kids, let's wave as we go by!" So we do. The look on his face, as two elementary school kids smile sweetly and wave as we drive by. I still laugh when I think about it.



I'm convinced some people just don't know how to pick their fights, and they're just lucky I don't want to play chicken. My family has two cars: mine an old Wrangler, and my fiancé's a large Chevy SUV. I don't think anyone would want to include either car in an accident. They're both very durable. Wouldn't you know it, people still have a "my car can take your car" attitude. 

Case in point, I was on my way to school. To get back to surface roads, I have to change freeways and immediately change lanes two times in a very short distance, or continue on to the next exit.   So as I was changing into the far right lane (I was driving the SUV), I looked over my shoulder, signaled, and looked over my shoulder again. There was a car some way back, but there was more than enough room for me to merge. Just as I started into the lane, the little sports car floored it! I had to swerve back into my lane or the guy would have slammed into my side. You've got to be an idiot to try that in a fiberglass car. I swallowed my stomach as he shot past and signaled again. I couldn't believe when it happened again! This time I was half into the right lane when a mini van behind me floored it and swerved around me driving half in the shoulder, screaming and honking and gesturing wildly with no less than four kids in the back! She then proceeded to swerve AT me and bullied me back into the lane. I got off at the next exit. I was afraid of who'd want to play chicken next.



Here is the story of my road rage.

This happened many years ago when I drove a car that, before I owned it, had been in a front end collision of some sort.  As a result, the headlights were set so that it looked like I was driving with the high beams on when they weren't.  Of course if I'd known that I wouldn't have bought the car, but by the time I figured it out it was far too late. Needless to say, I inadvertently ticked off a lot of other drivers who thought I was an inconsiderate  jerk  who didn't care who I blinded. I couldn't wait until I saved up enough money so I could dump the car for a new one, and what I did convinced me that time had come.

I was driving home from work one night around midnight. It had been a terrible day, I was tired, irritable and in a downright foul mood. I was driving behind someone and all of a sudden he slows to a crawl. I didn't think much of it and passed him, and then he got in front of me and did it again. It dawned on me that he was angry that I was driving behind him with what he thought were my high beams on. I remember being extremely frustrated that I couldn't really communicate this to him so I just got in front of him. Then he started tailing me, flashing his high beams on and off...that was it. I'd had it. I was only about 3 blocks from where I turned off the road, but I stopped my car right there, and for whatever reason he stopped in back of me.  I flew out of my car in a complete rage, stomped up to his car and for some reason he not only didn't take off, but he rolled down his window to listen to me. I screamed at him something like "YOU F-ING JERK, I'M NOT DRIVING WITH MY HIGH BEAMS ON, MY CAR WAS IN AN ACCIDENT AND THERE'S NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT YOU SON OF BITCH NOW LEAVE ME THE 'F' ALONE"  I continued this foul mouthed diatribe for another 20 seconds or so and then walked back to my car and drove off. He gave me a wide berth after that.

Immediately after this tirade I was embarrassed because the expression on their faces  told me they thought I was a complete lunatic, which, for that moment, I was. I terrified them and I was totally ashamed of myself. Not long after that I bought a new car. A new car that had no history.



 I live in San Francisco. Drivers here are the worst I have ever seen (well, CA drivers in's like a state wide epidemic), but not usually that angry. My BF, Morgan, was driving to Oakland for a jam with some friends. He was crossing the Bay Bridge, and right ahead there was a car stopped with it's hazards on in his lane. Cars were merging to the left to go around it. Everyone was merging like you're supposed to: a car from the left, then a car from the right. We all know that this is the most expedient way for cars to merge, but one of the many things we learn in Kindergarten is that there always has to be an idiot. 

This idiot took the form of a man in a mini van. Morgan had been signaling for some time, but the mini van guy wouldn't let him into the lane. He also wouldn't pass so that Morgan could get in behind him. Every time M tried to move over, the mini van would pull up just enough so that his front bumper was slightly in front of M's rear bumper. They are quickly approaching the stopped car, and finally Morgan thought, "If he's behind me, he's liable…" and he shot into the lane in front of the van. Mini van guy didn't like this much. He started honking and shouting and leaning on his horn. Then he pulled into the lane to Morgan's left and pulled up beside him, lowered his passenger window and started screaming, cursing, shaking his fists, honking and flipping Morgan off repeatedly…  …until he plowed into the back of the car in front of him which had come to a stop. The idiot was so obsessed with screaming at Morgan he didn't pay attention to what was in front of him. Morgan honked, waved, and drove on.



I was leaving on my way to work, running a bit late as I tend to be, so I was in a bit of a hurry.  The light on the corner of the street I lived on had a tendency to be very slow for those on my street and worked via a sensor, so someone had to be there for it to change.   

Right before the light goes green on my end, a lady takes her young children across the road, at the crosswalk, but didn't bother pushing the button to get a walk signal.  Right as she is in front of my car, the light turns green for me to go.   Of course, this lady is walking extremely slow, as she has children in her hands, and this light goes real quick, I would have been lucky to have a minute to get through, so I honk to get her to get out of my way, she does, but she also screams at me before I leave the intersection.  I likely should not say the exact words she said, but let's just say that children of the age she was taking across the street should not hear such words!  I only heard what she said because my window was down because I was enjoying my "morning" cigarette on my way to work (realize, its 3:30pmish)   I merely screamed back that I wasn't the one crossing against the light, which puts her at fault, and then made my turn.  But I sure was rather annoyed for a few hours because of that lady and her obvious lack of skill at parenting.  

For one, she was a bad role model in not having pushed the button and waited for a walk signal, which then caused her to cross against the light and risk herself and her children getting hit, and if they had gotten hit, it would not have been my fault, as they were going against the light at an intersection, and I doubt the State of California would spend the money to put in walk signals if they didn't want them being used.  And then having the nerve to swear at me in front of her children was no better.   Sometimes with people like this, I wonder about the fate of society with all the bad parents that exist now.  Whatever happened to being a good role model for your children?  Or even acting the way you wish your children to act?  It is rather difficult to get children to not swear if you do it on a regular basis in front of them.


Page Last Updated May 15, 2007