So I'm merging into traffic with plenty of room. It's a clear day, so other drivers can see me from a mile away. Ok, maybe not a mile away, but at least a block away, which is the distance which we are talking about here. Ok, so I'm merging into traffic and the vehicle that is in the lane I am merging into slams on the gas! I don't notice until I am almost in his lane with his stupid SUV bearing down on me at 55 miles an hour. Had I completed the lane merge, he would have slammed into me. As it was, I slammed on my breaks and veered back into the turning lane. The jerk!
Here's what is so frustrating about that encounter. It is so-so-so-so typical of what I see everyday. As I'm out and about making my sales calls, I spend a lot of time on the road. I make countless lane merges and turns on and off roads. What I see on a consistent basis is other drivers SO inconvenienced by my traffic maneuvers that they feel compelled to try to stop me, even at the risk of causing an accident - or at least prevent me from getting ahead of them. God forbid!
I'm just not used to this. I live in a small town where people are by general rule very courteous drivers. They do not feel compelled to speed up to keep you out of their lane when they see you have your blinker on and are attempting to merge. In Holland it is almost a given that they will act this way. In Grand Haven where I live, however, people are actually quite likely to politely let you into their lane - even when traffic is backed up!
Now, some of you may be wondering if I am bringing this vehicular aggressiveness on myself. Well, that is a fair question, but one I must answer with a resounding NO! I do not drive like a grey-haired granny. I do not break when I change lanes, I speed up just like I was taught in driver's training all those years ago. No, my fair readers, I am not bringing this on myself. People here are just cranky road-ragers!
I will tell another story that will prove my point. I pulled up to an intersection to turn right. The cross-traffic was stopped on a red, but my light had just changed from green to yellow. So, being a normal red-blooded American driver, I pulled through the intersection and made my turn as the traffic light for the cross-traffic turned green. The gentleman - and I use that term out of political correctness, not actual fact - whose lane I had pulled into crammed on the gas pedal and zoomed right up on my bumper, honking his horn. I could see in my rear-view mirror that he was cussing me out and waving his hands in the air. He was one mad Dutchy-boy. As a matter of fact, his driving behavior was so aggressive, I became genuinely frightened. I was sure he was going to plow into my vehicle any moment, so I quickly pulled off the street at the next intersection hoping he'd just drive on by. Luckily, he did, cursing and honking and flipping me the bird. It was truly frightening.
Why do people have to behave so aggressively in situations that could cause serious bodily injury? So what, I pulled into your lane. Grow up! Is it really worth blowing a coronary artery over?
Bad drivers be damned!