Monday, January 08, 2007

Bad Drivers be Damned!

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!


Donkey said...

I too had an encounter with someone just a couple of days ago. I merged into traffic from a yield sign. The person that was in the lane I was merging into did a lane change so they could continue going the same speed. No biggie. THEN they come past me and squeeze in between me and the car in front of me. My turn to slow down a LOT. All so they could get to the same intersection one car closer.

What is our world comming too???

Chill Daddy said...

It may seem unbelievable and outrageous at first, but when you stop to consider that all of these people are probably late for something, then you can kind of understand their frustration. Road-ragers are really a misunderstood and unappreciated bunch. Think how late you'd be for everything if they weren't keeping traffic flowing at a maximal frenzy. Shame on you for adding milliseconds to their drive time - have a little compassion and simply never pull out into traffic (ever).

bunnyjo georg said...

Donkey, I heard a very interesting report on NPR that talked about this guy who wrote a book proposing a system whereby drivers could report other drivers for doing the kinds of things we are talking about here. Drivers that receive over a certain number of complaints would receive some sort of corrective punishment from the state. I happen to think this is a very good idea! And bad drivers be damned!!!

ChillD: Yes, I am quite audacious, am I not? I shall from now on keep my driving to my drive way and thus only irritate Chris. And Britt. And Robbie. And our visitors. But at least I won't be irritating all the important drivers in the world!

Oh, and by the way, I had a really funny picture I was trying to publish along with this post but I can't get the picture uploader thing to work. It says it uploaded my picture but it doesn't appear. Anyone else having trouble?

Bonnie Blithe said...

I'm so glad you're posting again, luv!

Nothing to add to the driving discussion except: I'm glad we don't live in L.A.!

VeeFlower said...

People can and do get insane over such things as a car attempting to pass them, or someone pulling into THEIR lane...I had someone try to run me off the road for not driving fast enough (I WAS doing the speed limit!) It was terrifying. I'll skip all my other horror stories...just don't get drawn into a road rage incident. Promise me.

cindy said...

eddie had a woman pull in front of him then slowed way down. it made him so mad that he followed the woman until she pulled over, ran out into a field screaming "what do you want!"

he yelled back "that is an ungly dress!" then drove off.

bunnyjo georg said...

Ms Blithe: Thank you, my dear. Knowing that you don't fall victim to the surges of road rage, I can't expect that you'd have any horror stories to share. ;)

Mom: Don't worry. I don't get rage-ful, but I do mutter under my breath.

Cindy: That is so funny! It got an audible chuckle out of me. I can just see Eddie doing that, too! And shouting at her that she had an ugly dress on....totally Eddie. he kills me!

cindy said...

i have a bunch of road rage stories about eddie. here's another one...

he had a car with a horn that didn't work. he would roll his window down and yell "BEEP!"

i actually witnessed that one.

VeeFlower said...

If I had a road rage incident with someone as funny as your brother, I would laugh so hard I would forget all about being mad.

bunnyjo georg said...

Well, we got the real story from Eddie about the lady's dress story. Apparently, she pulled out in front of him when she could have waited two seconds and pulled in behind him (the nerve!) So, he kept saying to himself, "I hope she goes to Grand Valley so I can yell at her." Sure enough, she pulled into Grand Valley. He followed her to her parking spot and proceeded to have an argument with her that culminated in her yelling, "And get rid of those 80's bad perm spiral curls!" Not as funny as chasing a woman down and telling her she has an ugly dress, but pure Eddie nonetheless!

bunnyjo georg said...

Ooops, correction: HE yelled at her about the permy-hair, not she yelling at him. yada-yada-yada

Marcheline said...

Bunny - I'm glad to hear you don't break when you change lanes... that would seriously impede your travel schedule.

However, the question remains: Do you brake when you change lanes?

*I'm a picky bitch, ain't I?*


- M