FFS: Why I’m a Road Rage-aholic
Road rage has become a terrible thing hasn’t it? I’ve seen some horrendous incidents on the news; people abused, chased, harassed and even bashed and stabbed. Sometimes to death. Everyone is so damn angry on the road these days and we do and act in ways we would NEVER, ever do or act if we weren’t behind the protection of metal and glass with lockable doors. And unfortunately I am going to admit that I suffer terribly from road rage. I am one of those angry people. I haven’t chased, harassed, bashed or stabbed anyone but I get very hot under the collar and I’m not proud of it but so many things drive me nuts out there.
Not long ago I was in an altercation which left me red-in-the-face-mad with a pounding heart. There is a major road through our town, heavily trafficked which is one lane in both directions with a railway crossing in the middle. It is constantly busy and you often sit there for ages waiting for trains to pass. Just before the railway crossing is a slip lane that was specifically put in to service people entering and exiting a retirement village and do you know what? People (arseholes) constantly use that slip lane as a “left” lane to try and by-pass all the nice people, the patient people that are waiting their turn in the only lane that they should legitimately be in.
A few weeks ago I was one of those people waiting and in my rear view mirror I see cars flying up this slip lane so they can cut in front and I’d had enough. I edged my car over to the left so no one else could get past me but this guy in a ute stuck the nose of his car right in front of my front bumper. It was a warm day and I saw he had his window down so I let down my passenger window and I called out “Hey, why don’t you just wait your turn like everyone else”?
He yelled, “It’s a merge lane you STUPID BITCH”.
I immediately reacted with: “It is not, it’s for the retirement village you fucking arsehole”.
And then I got scared.
What situation did I just put myself in? What if this guy gets out of his car, grabs a tyre iron and decides he’s Michael Douglas from Falling Down and tries to kill me? I knew that I did a stupid thing but I was just so sick of people’s inpatient, rude behaviour on our roads…
Like when I am driving in the right hand lane, doing the speed limit, behind another line of cars also doing the speed limit and I leave that two-second safe gap in front of me and some jerk speeds up from the left and cuts into that safe space (accomplishing zero except putting us both in danger).
People who refuse to allow merging. The word merge literally means combine or cause to combine to form a single entity yet so many fools think – “I’m not letting you in” and stare straight ahead.
Some of them deliberately speed up to try and prevent you getting onto the freeway.
Then there’s the people I travel behind who won’t get their speed up to 100 km/h to merge onto the freeway. They’re sitting on 75 or 80 which forces everyone behind them to do the same and you have to try and work your way onto a highway where everyone else is doing 100 km/h. It’s dangerous and stupid.
I recently saw on Facebook where people were talking about speed limits and someone wrote “Well you don’t have to do 100 km/h even if it says that’s the speed limit, that’s just a suggestion, I’ll drive whatever speed I want to whether that’s 50 or 60 or 70″.
What? Are you serious? If you are incapable of driving the speed limit, take a bus.
And tailgaters. If there is a vehicle in front of me, I cannot go any faster, I cannot magically jump over it and I cannot go underneath it. Keep a safe distance from me because if I have to brake suddenly I don’t want to die. If you’re going to ride my ass, at least pull my hair.
And I have inherited this road rage from my husband because my husband is a truck driver. Truck drivers are blamed for absolutely everything that is wrong with our roads; accidents, tail-gating, congestion. Well let me tell you that it should be 100% compulsory for every single person who applies for a licence to spend a day as a passenger in a truck. It will open your eyes and boggle your mind for the rest of your driving history. What these poor men and women (who happen to be the most professional, capable and conscientious drivers on the road) have to put up with daily is unbelievable.
I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen people, usually P-platers in a tiny car, pull in front of his truck coming up to a set of lights because they don’t want to be stuck behind it and they have no idea how close they just came to killing themselves. A truck can NOT stop like a car can. At any speed.
Or they will pull out in front of them on a highway so they don’t get stuck behind them assuming that because it’s big, it’s also slow. They are not. They are doing 100 km/hr just like all the cars that you chose not to pull out in front of.
All of our trucks have dash-cams in them and thank God they do or we would be constantly battling insurance claims. Two months ago an elderly man drove straight from the centre lane of the Bolte Bridge into the right hand lane where our truck was travelling and snagged himself on the bumper bar. He never turned his head to look and had no clue it was there and then wanted us to pay for his damage. Thankfully dash cams don’t lie.
Last week my husband was travelling along a freeway in the left hand lane, the right hand lane was too congested for him to move over when a line of vehicles made their way across to merge. The last vehicle was a 4WD and should have slowed down to get in behind him as she was way too far back to make it but she planted her foot down and squeezed her car in right in front of his bumper. He blasted her with the horn and you know what she did? Put her brakes on and flipped her middle finger.
I’m not saying there aren’t some aggressive, idiot truck drivers out there who are desperate to get to their destination to get one more load but by and large they are just hard working, honest, decent people who want to get home safely to their families just like you do.
Don’t pass them when they are turning. Don’t travel in their blind spots (if you can’t see their mirrors, they can’t see you), and do not EVER pull in front of them approaching traffic lights or coming out of side streets when there is not enough room. And if you have teenagers you are teaching to drive, please – please – please teach them to be safe and respectful not just in general but especially around trucks AND to drive with patience and courtesy because you are a long time dead.
What do other drivers on the road do that drives you crazy?