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Road Rage

2002 Archive

Last week I was driving to work on U.S. 64 between Shiprock and Farmington.

Usually the road is deserted by the time I head to work and I always drive the speed limit. This particular morning there was no traffic on the road and I was driving with the cruise control activated. A car pulls up behind me doing about 80 to 85 mph and begins to tailgate me. I have no idea why and I have clue who this person is. I continue driving and ignore the other car. He gets into the passing lane, pulls in front of my vehicle and slams on his brakes. I narrowly miss his car and slide into the shoulder. I take off again and he pulls up beside me, gesturing wildly and mouthing obscenities at me. Keep in mind that I have no clue who this person is and I've only been in the state for about 2 months. I had not encountered another car that morning since leaving my house. He harassed me all the way into the nearest town and I ended up calling the Sheriff's office.

I still have no idea what his problem was or is and I'm certain he had me confused with someone else. Now I have my cell phone with me at all times.


I have two stories of Road Rage, in both cases I was a pedestrian or at least not in a car. Story one: My wife and I used to work for separate companies that were just a few minutes walk from each other, so we shared a car. We'd leave the car in her company's car park and I'd walk to work. This, unfortunately, meant I had to walk across four lanes of rush hour traffic at a cross-roads. Actually this was no biggy as there were traffic lights at the cross-roads so the traffic had to stop and the stop lights were linked to a pedestrian crossing so when the car's traffic lights were red the pedestrian's lights were green and one could cross in safety.

One time just as the traffic lights turned red a woman in a light blue van pulled up to the lights, looked at me waiting there and, with a look of hatred on her face, started swearing at me. I was confused at first but figured she thought that as I was waiting to cross I had made the lights change and delayed her, this was not true as the lights are on a timer. As traffic began to move in the other direction I thought she'd see what the deal was and realize her mistake - not so. As I walk past her van to cross the road she pulls forwards and almost sends me flying! I cannot believe a) Her complete misunderstanding of how a cross-roads works b) The fact she thought appropriate revenge for this minor delay was to run me over and c) The fact she felt so aggrieved when it was rush hour traffic and so the queue she was in had only moved about thirty feet, which she would have caught up with in seconds!

Story two: When we moved into our house we knew that the driveway was at the end of a street that often had many parked cars on it and there was a risk that if there was just half a space between the last parked car and our driveway someone may squeeze in on the end and be across part of our driveway. We figured this would be a rare event and there was room to get by anyway so it was no big deal - we were right with just one exception: Our new neighbors a few doors down were French, apparently they have a different way of thinking: Their brats (sorry, children) developed an interesting logic that went something like this: As we had just moved in none of the plants in the front garden belonged to us, after all they had been there before us. They had belonged to the people who had lived their previously but as they had left they were now a free-for-all and we frequently returned home to find them vandalized. A strategically placed web cam filmed the culprits and when I next saw the kids in the street I told them (remaining civil and calm at all times) I knew what they had done and to stop it. In their child's minds this instruction to keep out of our garden changed to "you are not allowed to walk past our house", an instruction they conveyed to their parents (minus the bit about their destructive pastimes).

The parents then responded to this fictitious demand by making a point of parking across the entrance to our house as often as possible. In addition they also encouraged all their friends who were visiting to do the same and spread the completely untrue rumor around the street that we objected to people coming anywhere near our house, which made us very unpopular. It was impossible to talk to them anymore as when we met in the street they completely blanked us and just carried on walking. The final straw came when they left their car parked across our driveway for three days! They wouldn't talk to us so we put a note on their windshield to stop it, simply stating that it made it very hard to get out. Apparently that's how people communicate in France as from that day onwards they never did it again and neither did their guests - going out of their way NOT to obstruct us! They didn't talk to us ever again and moved out about 6 months later, which was fine by me.


I'm not sure if this is road rage or simply incomparable stupidity, but a few months ago I was driving down a busy street in an industrial part of town with two kids in the car. There was a railroad crossing up ahead and the lights began flashing red, so I slowed down and stopped. The driver of the jacked-up SUV behind me began honking his horn for all he was worth, and gesturing for me to go through the crossing AS THE CROSSING ARM WAS COMING DOWN! I, of course, refused to budge, so the SUV swerved around me and blasted around the end of the crossing arm and across the railroad tracks about ten seconds before the train sped by. Apparently, the driver of the SUV was in such a big hurry, he thought I should risk my passengers' lives so he could get where he was going! The truly ironic thing is, when the train (a short one) passed by and the crossing arm went up, I crossed the tracks and pulled up at the next intersection, where the light was red...RIGHT BEHIND THE SUV! He'd risked his life to cross the tracks, then got stuck at a red light! What an idiot!   Road0210-03

After reading the posting from the person regarding traveling in New Jersey near Linden, I had to fill you in on this:

I lived in New Jersey (Elizabeth) for about 7 years; while there, I got my driver's license. I swear all the drivers there either never bothered to try for a license, or else they got one out of a Cracker Jack box! Anyway, the road's given by the New Jersey State Police (impressive, huh? riiiight....) IN A PARKING LOT!!! They NEVER took drivers into traffic! It's a "closed course" thing, complete with a tiny "hill" to show off your parking skills....and the drivers are taken out on the course in a carefully spaced manner so as to remove any possibility of two moving cars coming within shouting distance of each other! At least this is how it was done back in 1980 or so....I haven't been back there since 1983 (unless you count a train ride from NY to Florida....that's a whole different "hellacious" story!) so I can't tell you if the road tests are still conducted in this manner.

Now that it's in my mind, maybe I will include the train ride from hell just in case you add another category to your site (hint hint wink wink).

This took place in November 1992. My son, daughter, mother, sister, and I were taking the train from Rochester to Orlando. We had to be at the station at 5:30 a.m. for a 6:15 train to NYC. The train was coming from Chicago.....should've known there were going to be problems when the train didn't show up until 8 a.m.

Boarded the train, got everyone settled, kids are being good considering (12 and 8 years old, never been on a train, never been to Disney, just really excited, happy kids). Train is now over 2 hours late leaving Rochester. Halfway to Albany the conductor walks through and when asked about the chances of making our connecting train in NYC on time, says "Don't worry, this happens a lot, we'll be fine." Uh huh.

Get to NYC, the conductor leads over 100 people RACING through the terminal to try to catch the train taking us to Orlando. WHEW! We JUST make it....

Fast forward to dusk.....we notice we're shivering in the train. Conductor, when passing through again, says "there's a slight problem with the heating system. We can't get the heat to stay on."

OK...pull out the hour later, it's downright COLD in the car. Seems not only doesn't the heat work, but the AIR CONDITIONING has come on and they CAN'T TURN IT OFF!!!

I take the kids to the "lounge car" to play Uno for a little while. We also stop in the dining car for some dinner. Dinner turns out to be either $18.00 hamburgers or $7.00 bologna sandwiches! Into the lounge car (which is just a car with tables for playing cards, games, just visiting, etc. No drinking.), comes a group of middle aged men who are quite tipsy (ok, drunk as skunks). My kids and I are at the opposite end of the car, and as I'm gathering up the cards and kids to get them out of there, in swaggers another drunk passenger.....a "woman" dressed in skin tight red satin who's barely able to stand on her own. The drunk men start making lewd comments to her as I'm trying to rush my kids past them all.

I get the kids settled back at our seats. Ms. Red Satin decides to "work" the rest of the train, beginning in our car. After several of the men there tell her to go back to her own car, the conductor finally appears and escorts her out of there.

Forward to morning...we're still freezing, the conductor tells us that the food refrigeration has failed, and all they have available for breakfast is tea, black coffee, and leftover doughnuts from the day before. And oh, yes, the water in our car isn't working now either, so please DON'T USE THE BATHROOM! He's not kidding either!!

OK..a couple more hours of this and we're in Florida. Everyone out of the train, into the station, grab the bags, and we're out of there...except the luggage isn't there, they didn't have time to get it transferred to the connecting train in NYC! It "should" be in Orlando the next morning....


At the end of the week in Florida, my daughter is very upset by the thought of having to ride the train back to Rochester. We assure her as best we can that it can't possibly be another bad ride.....but there was one more thing in store. At a railroad crossing in Jacksonville, the train HITS A CAR. Fortunately the train was going very slowly, and there was a fire/rescue station right at the crossing. No one was seriously hurt.

Needless to say, NONE of us have been on a train again!

 I have always been a "good" driver, and at the age of 24 have not been pulled over once. I will admit from time to time I make a mistake of course, or speed...but nothing nearly as dangerous as what someone did to me a couple years ago.

I lived in a decent sized town in northern Illinois at the time, and I worked in Wisconsin. My hours were 1-9pm and with a hour drive often left home at noon. One day I woke up early, had a wonderful morning, got dressed and hopped into my car intending to make the most of the sunshine and drove to a sandwich shop close to where I would enter the highway for a 50 mile drive north. I got my favorite sandwich, and approached the light that allowed me onto the highway. This highway was only 2-3 lanes each way, but was often crowded south of this location, but at this time of day the traffic was usually light. I was sitting at the light with my signal to make a left turn onto the highway's entrance ramp when suddenly a car behind me started honking at me. Ok, no big deal...I ignored him. The oncoming traffic at the intersection was heavy being lunchtime and although it was a green light, I had no arrow and was waiting for either a break in traffic, or a turn sign. The person behind me continued to honk and I looked back at him and put my hands in the air as if to say "What do you want me to do?" It was obvious he was in a hurry to get on the highway.

He continued to honk loud and long bursts when I finally got annoyed and gave him the finger. My mistake. Never enrage someone acting badly already.

There was a overwhelming feeling I should get the HELL away from this person, so I slammed my gas pedal and very nearly hit a car making it to the on-ramp. The bonehead behind me also decided to follow me, because as we all's our right to cut off traffic if we are in a hurry!

The onramp at this particular exit had a right and left turn for the W and E ramps. I took the appropriate one and was driving about 50mph at this point. The on-ramp was quite long and gave you plenty of time to merge into the highway. I would say it was easily 2-3 miles long once the median had narrowed. I was cruising along waiting for the median to break to enter the highway when I glanced back in my rearview mirror. The jerk was gone, I thought "Thank god...he took the other exit" before looking over my shoulder again for oncoming traffic. I glanced ahead and realized that the man behind me had jumped the median and crossed 75mph traffic and jerked back over into the on-ramp. He was standing still. It took all my weight against the break, and leaving about 20ft of rubber on the road to avoid hitting him. Luckily the traffic was light and I managed to slow down and jerk myself over to the slow lane of the highway and not hit anything.

Wait, it gets better....

Then the a$$hole speeds up and I notice he's driving a brand new BMW. That explains it. Being a farming community, anyone who drives a BMW is usually a Chicago visitor or recently moved from the city. Just as he passes me he flips me the bird. His wife flips me the bird, and yes...his two teenage children flip me the bird as well! Nice parenting jerk! He nearly causes 6 accidents and then STOPS in a merging on-ramp to try and piss me off, and then has the nerve to have the entire car flip me off??

I lost it. I had my own little version of road rage at this point. I decided that I would do something that wouldn't hurt me or anyone else, but piss him off.

This highway is usually full of trucks, especially on off-hours like 12pm. I got into the fast lane after they flipped me off to get away from him when I was struck with an idea for revenge. I sped along all the while he was tailing me, and got up next to a semi in the slow lane. I pulled up about even with the front of the semi and paced myself going about 55mph. Mr. BMW was furious and flashing his lights at me, but I pretended to be blissfully unaware of his rage. Soon Mr. BMW had a few headlight flashers of his own behind him because they couldn't see my little 4dr Toyota over his BMW. The truck driver had seen the guy cut people off and try to kill me earlier I am sure, because he was laughing. I stayed there for a good 10-15 minutes before speeding up and pulling right in front of the semi truck where I knew I would be safe. Again the whole family passes me with united birds flying....and try and do the same thing to me. At this point I was staying as far away from these crazy people as possible, and was driving about 60mph directly in front of the friendly truck driver. Just fast enough to keep up with the truck behind me, but slow enough to avoid these guys.

The car was ahead of me now and I watched as he cut off a couple of drivers and more birds were flipped to the passing cars who had honked at him before. He then proceeded to pull up with a semi truck and pace it, to annoy ME. Funnily enough I was behind the semi he was pacing, and going slower than the truck in the first place. He paced the rear of the truck and not the front, and I laughed at all these cars proceeded to honk and flash their lights at him AGAIN.

I still to this day cannot believe how unsafe his driving was. Pulling out in traffic and then cutting me off on a on-ramp!

I was very lucky that nobody got hurt, especially me. Although a part of me does wish my crappy car had rear ended his shining BMW, but I would like to remain in one piece, thank you!

I haven't flipped the bird to anyone since.


I love your site! I've considered entering stories of my own in the past, but I always end up feeling bad for people who have committed the heinous etiquette crimes. I do not feel bad, however, for road ragers. (I'll admit, too, that I've been guilty of road rage in the past.) Now, on to my story! I was driving in rural Maine a few years ago during a terrible snowstorm. I was on a regularly traveled two-lane road in a line of cars behind a city truck plowing and sanding the road. Since we were crawling along at less than 10 mph, cars were passing the truck, one by one. It was all very civilized. The car at the front of the line would approach the truck, then slowly pass. Then the next car would slowly pass, and so forth. By the time I was at the front of the line of cars, which remained at a steady 10-12 cars the whole time. I started to pull out in order to pass, and caught sight of a white pick-up truck passing the line of cars in the opposite lane, fishtailing and spraying snow everywhere. If I pulled out, he would rear-end me. If anyone happened to be coming from the opposite direction, he would slam into them head-on.

So, I quickly jerked my car back behind the plow truck and waited for him to pass. Then, I pulled out and passed the plow truck, but ended up behind the pick-up truck, which was now moving very slowly. I assumed he was driving slowly because the roads were so bad and there was limited visibility, so I maintained a fairly safe distance from him.

As I would approach the pick-up truck, however, the driver would slam on his brakes, forcing me to slam on my brakes and swerve all over the road in order to avoid hitting him, thereby forcing the man behind me to hit HIS brakes in order to avoid hitting ME. Out of panic and frustration, I honked my horn. Big mistake.

The guy in the pick-up truck continued to accelerate then slam on his brakes. I tried to stay as far away from him as I could, but he would drop his speed down to a crawl until I caught up with him, then he would slam on his brakes again. There were no roads for me to take to get away from him and I kept hoping he would just stop doing it.

Finally, we got to a stop sign, and I pulled up behind him. I watched as he slammed his truck into park, jumped out of his seat, and marched back to my car. I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw that the guy who had been driving behind me was watching the pick-up truck driver and shaking his head. The guy from the pick-up got to my window, which I did not roll down, and started screaming at me that I had almost caused a car accident by pulling out and trying to pass the plow truck earlier. Then he made some comment about how women drivers are stupid, he called me all kinds of names, then he got back into his truck, popped it into neutral and spun his rear tires so all the sand, salt, and snow from the road covered my entire car with gook, the consistency and look of brown sugar. (I couldnĀ¹t help but note that, since he had driven quite a distance on the wrong side of the road, in a horrible snowstorm, in a lightweight pick-up truck with rear-wheel drive, he was most likely the bigger menace on the road, but I kept that bit of information to myself.)

I sat there stunned and a little bit freaked out until he pulled away. I waited until he was out of sight before I drove through the stop sign. The guy in the car behind me, by the way, smiled and waved at me as I drove away. In the end, I had to laugh.


There's a supermarket shopping center near my home. In order to get to the supermarket I have to drive on a moderately busy road. There are two lanes in each direction. There's a mile-long stretch of road where at the time this happened, there were no other roads intersecting the main road. (It's different now.)

I had just finished an errand at the supermarket, and exited the parking lot onto a side street. From the side street I had to make a left turn onto the main road. I'm waiting at the light to make the left turn, and the driver of the car behind me is honking his horn wildly. It seems he felt I cut him off when I turned out of the shopping center.

The light changes and I make the turn. The car behind me makes the turn, speeds up and passes me. Then he pulls in front of me and slams on his brakes so that I have to stop short. I can see he's got two young kids in the car, they are on their knees in the back seat, looking out the window at me.

I change lanes. He pulls in front of me again, and again he stops short. Each time I change lanes, he repeats this performance.

There's oncoming traffic in the other two lanes, no place to make a turn off the main road, and I was afraid to pull over to the side of the road. This was long before cell phones, after all, and it's a pretty isolated strip of roadway once you leave the supermarket. He continued this performance for the entire mile, until we reached the intersection where the firehouse is located. Then he gave me the finger and sped away.

I still wonder what he would have done if I'd lost control of my car and rear-ended him. After all, I was a brand new driver at the time.    Road0502-03

The person who committed the "rage" was my supervisor. I liked her very much and she was excellent at her job which required a lot of tolerance and acumen for dealing with people. But this particular day, while driving her large white car (nicknamed "The White Bat"), she lost patience when a timid driver in front of her on an entrance ramp to the freeway missed TIME AFTER TIME to take advantage of an opportunity to enter the freeway. She merely drove up to his bumper and at the next opportunity FLOORED The White Bat, and SHOVED this guy onto the freeway!


I have two stories that I think fit your site. The first happened many years ago when I was working my first job. I was going home after an overnight shift. The area where I worked is a very busy one. The access to the highway I needed to use was on a road with ramps for two major highways and thus had significant traffic during morning rush. I was in the turn lane to get onto the ramp for the east bound parkway and had a green light. However there was oncoming traffic in the lanes on the other side. I felt I didn't have room to safely cross two lanes on traffic to get to the ramp and knew the next light would have a protected left so I just waited it out. Apparently the man behind me in the oversized German sedan thought this was a poor choice. I watched in my rear view as he leaned on the horn, screamed, pounded the steering wheel, and generally behaved like a toddler in the midst of a tantrum. When the light turned, I proceeded only to find him passing me and then stopping in the middle of the ramp to block me. He was still shaking his fist and carrying on. I was laughing my butt off. I think that infuriated him more than anything. He finally drove off still red in the face.

The second story is one I witnessed some years later. This time I was going to work and in the slow lane of the highway. Since traffic was at a crawl, the lane one was in didn't matter. I watched as a woman in a white Toyota was tailgated by three young men in a beat-up station wagon. They would wait as she moved up with the traffic and then speed up slamming the brakes on at the last second. This must have made her nervous and she eventually moved into the middle lane. They moved to get behind her again and this time she stopped her car. I was shocked and watched as she blocked the two left lanes and walked back to scream at the idiots. I made very sure I took note of the license plate numbers since I was afraid the next act might be an assault. After all, how did she know one of them didn't have a gun? Fortunately, the whole thing ended there. She got in her car and drove off and I watched as another driver in a huge pick-up cut the station wagon off so they couldn't follow her.


I was driving to my sister's house after work one day, and was approaching a set of lights which were red (and there was a ton of traffic). There was a driveway just before the lights, and a lady waiting to turn right, so I stopped just before the driveway so she could get onto the road. The guy behind me apparently thought that this was completely the WRONG thing to do, and came up behind me honking madly and flashing his lights. He then proceeded to whip out from behind me and drive past giving a few choice finger gestures. Well, I have a bit of a short fuse with idiotic behavior, so I sped up and got behind him and flashed him myself. Well, he proceeded to stop his car in the middle of the traffic, get out, and come back and start screaming at me about how I was holding up traffic! Excuse me, you just stopped your car in the middle of an extremely busy rush hour street!! Some people's children.


I had a traumatic experience the other day.  First, I'd like to say that I'm of average height, 22 year old white female, and I was driving alone...I was on my way to pick-up my pizza I had ordered ahead of time...I had just spotted a parallel parking spot right in front of the pizzeria, on the main road through town, were the speed limit is 25 mph. Being behind all the cars and in the right lane (it had 2 lanes in each direction road), I turned on my right blinker and starting slowing down by applying the brakes. 

Just about when I got to the spot, I looked in my rear view mirror in time to see a car, speeding up from no where, it seemed, swerve in behind me and tail-gate me, as I was BRAKING! After coming to a complete stop in front of the spot I was planning on backing into, I put the car into reverse. The car was still completely stopped behind me, with an empty lane to their left...So, thinking they might change lanes, I hesitated to start backing up, but because they weren't moving, I started to go. After a couple of feet, they finally realized what I was doing...At that point, they floored it, THEN swerved into the other lane narrowly missing my rear bumper, so I flipped the car off, while still reversing. 

When the driver of the car saw my finger, they pretty much slammed on the brakes in the middle of the street, but then proceeded to drive off down the road, or so I thought. About 2 car lengths in front of me is a driveway to the local restaurant. As the car continued down the road, it pulled into the driveway, half in the street still! The passenger, a white male in his 30's, jumped out of the car. I was still reversing, as this man came running at me screaming obscenities, at this time I locked the doors and the windows were already rolled up. I was completely stopped and in the spot by the time the man reached my car, but I still had my foot on the break (meaning the car was still on and in gear) and the radio on, of course, rather loud. 

When he reached my car he started yelling at me, like "You f***ing b***h, you'd better watch who you're flipping off from now on" and so on and so on. The guy went on for about 5 minutes, the whole time, not knowing what to do, I was just sitting there with a blank look on my face, pretty white I'm sure. I think the whole time he was screaming the only thing I said was "Parking" while pointing down. I'm pretty sure that pissed him off more, because then he started hitting my window with his two first fingers, with a cigarette in between, because apparently, I didn't get the point with him screaming at me with his face just inches from mine.

So, finally, he gave up and started back towards his car. But suddenly, he spun around, screamed something else at me, and flicked his cigarette at my car! It hit my windshield and bounced off. Then he turned around as suddenly as before and started back again for the second time to his car.

After a few minutes, I thought he was a safe distance away and almost at his car, I got out of my car, walked around the back, and started onto the sidewalk, when he whipped around and started coming back towards me while screaming at me "You'd better watch where you're going from now on bitch". I responded with "It's a legal parking spot, I was just parking". I then turned rather quickly and rushed into the pizzeria. The whole time this was going on, 4 people came out of the restaurant, but didn't even give this psycho a second glance. After going into the pizzeria, it was obvious they were oblivious as to the harassment that just took place.

I know now that honking the horn might have been a good idea. So is pepper spray. I also know that flipping anyone off isn't the best way to make friends, but who doesn't get flipped off anymore?     Road0722-03

I don't think "flipping off" the "finger" is the appropriate response to someone's road rage.  As can be seen, this is the equivalent of throwing gasoline on a fire.

Page Last Updated May 15, 2007