Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Road Rage

I had my first flare up of road rage today in a long time. I used to get angry at other drivers quite a bit - mostly for something to do - I commute 100 miles each way twice a week. But I kicked that habit months ago - people stopped bothering me as much. All I ever did with my road rage is bitch and moan - perhaps flashing my lights or honking the horn, but I don't cut people off, I don't tailgate, I don't charge people like a bull.

So today, I'm almost at work, I'm turning west from Shute road to Evergreen road. There are two lanes in either direction on Evergreen, and some guy is pacing me on my left (pacing == right next to my bumper but in the other lane). So I step on the gas and accelerate to 55 (speed limit is 50) quickly. At this point he (and the other cars) are a good 200 feet behind me. I quickly forget about them.

Now, Evergreen slims down to one lane after 3/4 of a mile or so, and people sometimes jockey for position. Whatever... We're less than a mile away from work, so position at this point doesn't matter. Anyway, as I'm getting close to the merge point, thus guy suddenly accelrates and gets back on my bumper. So there we are, the two lanes soon to become one, and this asshole is right next to me. Note: he had to speed up to 60 or more to catch up, then slow down to pace me. I've very consciously kept my speed a constant 55 mph. Right as the lane is ending, he slowly starts to pull even with me, and eventually pass me. The lanes have officially merged at this point, but he has still not passed me.

I look over at him, he's deep in thought or something. He shows no sign of noticing me or my car. I lay on the horn for 3-4 seconds, still no reaction. So I slow down and let him pass me - b/c I'm not enough of a prick to actually get in an accident to prove a point. Never a reaction from him. Man was I pissed.

I have a couple simple driving rules. They basically boil down to the Golden Rule: treat others as you'd want to be treated.

  1. get out of other peoples way: if you're in the left lane and someone comes up behind you, pull over to the right lane
  2. if you're going to pass someone - do it: drive at least 5 mph faster than the person you're passing, simply inching past someone does not count (VW Bus drivers get the exception on this - I feel for you)
  3. get to freeway speed quickly: you don't have to floor it, but you should easily be going the speed of traffic by the time you're epxected to merge (again, VW Bus drivers get the exception)
  4. when merging - align yourself with a gap between vehicles

That's it. Nothing pisses me off more than the slow drivers in the left lane, especially when they're simply pacing the car in the lane next to them. It happens so much in Oregon that I just started passing people on the right. I've spent far too much time waiting for a person to get a clue, so I pass on the right. I don't even wait more than a second or two, I just signal and pass. I figure my defense (if I'm ever pulled over like my brother) is that I was obeying the signs that say, "Slower Traffic Keep Right." I figure, when I'm not passing someone, I merge right. And if nobody is in front of me, I hit the gas.

When I had my Subaru GL, named "Xena", I often wanted to get a megaphone installed - like the cops use. That way I could yell at people, "Pull over!" "You're going too slow." "Check your blinker grandpa!"

The guy today made me want to get one installed in the Mazda.

No comments: