Thursday, February 04, 2010

A Guide To Surviving Road Altercations

I am a generally tranquil and easygoing dude, but every now and again I'll end up in a car chase because I honked at someone for cutting me off.

It's pretty much an involuntary reaction. As soon as I believe another driver has sinned against me, the horn magnetically pulls my palm to it, followed by the inevitable staredown. Sometimes when I'm feeling rather daring I even tailgate the offending party for a while, just to send a message that I fear neither man nor beast. I'm not looking to follow them home or attack them, but am just sending a little signal in case they ever again decide to try and step to me in my hood.

But more often than not, the honked-at party will stop abruptly and wait for me to pull up alongside so we can further discuss the matter. At this point some would step out of their car to clear the air, but I am of the mind that it's better to stay inside the vehicle during potential fighting situations, given the fact that I don't know how to fight, and I believe I'm safer inside a giant killing robot with wheels than I am on foot.

So when someone motions me to get out of my car, the magnet effect occurs once again, this time the gas pedal attracting my foot. I have been chased many times, feeling just like Pac-Man after his power pellet has worn off.

Once, when I was 16 and driving my parents' minivan, an enterprising pursuer in a cooling company van I had cut off waited for a red light, then stepped out to bash my taillight with a lead pipe. I had two friends in the van with me at the time who gingerly suggested we get out and fight the guy, but I instead stood pat and drove toward the freeway. Odds are we would have won the fight, but at least one of us would have taken a nasty piping to the skull before the bad guy went down. Those odds were too poor for me, and I do not regret fleeing.

I would have driven all the way to Mexico to get away from that guy. And not just by scooting down I-19 for an hour. Rather, by heading north through Canada and the Arctic, then down through the oceans and Asia, the Antarctic, up through South America to enter the country through Guatemala. How the minivan would have coasted on water I do not know -- but only that the will to make it happen was certainly there.

The moral of this story is to learn to fight and not honk at people or cut them off. Especially if they have lead pipes. Thankfully few drivers have guns, and those who are armed have passed thorough background checks and taken training courses so as to not be tempted to shoot you down.

3 comments:

G.Stein said...

i've been cut off by a few people in company vehicles... it's often fun to call the phone number on the side of the vehicle. i usually get apologies from the person who answers, along with a "we'll have a supervisor look into the matter" (might as well say "we take road safety very seriously")

I'm also convinced that nobody in Charlotte, North Carolina understands roundabouts/rotaries/traffic circles - people IN the circle like to yield to people entering, and people entering don't like to stop.

ashleyO said...

I hate driving because of idiots on the road like the Tail Light Killer. I only drive if I HAVE to. I don't have road rage but I do like to call people names. Makes me feel better.

I have been followed home by a girl. I almost called the cops because she scared the lunch out of me. But not really because I just laughed it off. Yes, I am still bitter at the bitch. What did I do you ask? I waited for her to pass me on the left so I slowed down to get behind her to make a left turn on my street. Now, I know what you're thinking....What is so wrong with that? Hah! Absolutely nothing. At least not where I come from.

ashleyO said...

...Apparently I was supposed to cut her off. Some people like it as rough on the road as they do in bed I guess. The end.