Raging Road JoyRaging Road Joy Road rage is a problem everywhere and more so when road racers and towing vehicles are sharing the road. Here's how to arrive at the launch in one piece.
By Carol Martens
We have all heard the term road rage and more than likely experienced it first hand as a victim or a perpetrator. Either way I see road rage as hazard to be avoided. Personally speaking, the only time my halo falls off is while driving our California freeways. You may live in the Midwest and it may only take a creeping tractor on a two lane road with double yellow lines to stress you out.
Seriously, road rage is a problem everywhere and more so when big trucks, road racers and towing vehicles are sharing the road. It’s usually the other guys fault because the potato head lacks driving skills. Lord knows we’re never in a hurry or impatient? When God commanded us to be loving, kind and forgiving do you think He meant for these to be practiced while driving on freeways eight lanes wide?
I’ve made a conscious effort to be more patient and courteous to other drivers. An example would be allowing cars to enter the street in front of me from parking lots and side streets. What a concept! Fighting for a parking space is now in the past. I park in the back of the lot so I can get some needed exercise! Recently while leaving a gas station I blocked the side walk with my truck and boat. I put my window down and apologized to three questionable looking young men walking towards me. They kindly smiled and said “that’s okay.” Most of the time people respond with a smile and wave and it’s apparent both of us have a feel good moment. Recently I let a guy pull in front of me three times within a mile and that really impressed him. Now and then people do the same for me and that makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over. I say all of this because in the past it would be more common to get a dirty look, honked at and a number one finger.
It’s still mystifies me why the nicest people turn into road warriors as soon as they get behind the wheel. The key turns on and the war begins and everyone else on the road is the enemy. The exception is the kind or scared little person who obviously hates war. They remain behind the crosswalk on a green light with 10 cars behind them all wanting to turn left. Usually, the little scared person is the only one that makes it through. Maybe that’s why three cars keep turning in front of us after the light changes. That same little person sometimes likes to drive in the fast lane and make all us warriors pass them on the right. All of these challenges like changing lanes, getting gas and finding parking spaces become more difficult when we’re towing a boat. Thankfully kind and scared little people usually don’t tow boats.
What we need to do is treat these who may be slower and more cautious as if they were our mom or dad. People do sometimes have a medical emergency or may be rushing to get to a loved one in trouble and I try to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Recently I watched a guy driving like a maniac cutting everybody off, even at signal lights. After a few miles, we both turned into the same parking lot. I went to Staples and he went to Starbucks! Go figure. How many of you know stories where someone tail-gated, honked and cussed at somebody only to find out they were going to the same place and maybe even knew each other? That should only happen once. Have you ever seen someone come unglued over a simple little delay or intrusion? I feel bad when it’s directed to me but really sorrier for them. They probably have high blood pressure among other health issues that could lead to a heart attack or stroke. There is a solution if you can’t shake your road rage habits. Rent a limo! Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
And while I’m at it, does a Smart phone make you smarter? Lately almost every incident I’ve seen or heard about involved a driver on a phone. When a car fails to creep along with everyone else in bumper to bumper traffic or drifts into your lane, you can bet they’re on the phone. Recently a gal came to a complete stop in front of me for no reason and yes she was on the phone. Now it’s against the law in California to use our cell phones while driving unless it’s mounted and then we can swipe or tap it just once. So now some idiot will be texting, talking, mapping and watching for cops all at the same time. Just something else to add to law enforcements’ workload. Regardless, this law is way overdue everywhere.
Speaking of law enforcement, I have a great story for all of you who have said, “Where’s a policeman when you need one!” Years ago on our way to a bass tournament at Lake Perris, my son Aaron was driving his truck and towing our boat on the 60 freeway. We were going up this huge grade and staying in the second lane from the right. In front of us was a little truck and to this day I still wonder what motivated this truck driver to do what he did all the way up this hill.
The traffic was flowing at a normal speed and for no reason at all the truck slammed on his brakes. Aaron did the same and our trailer fish-tailed back and forth. After we composed ourselves, we continued on our way thinking the driver of the truck didn’t mean to do that. Wrong! He continued to speed up to over 50 mph and then slow down to less than 15mph. We soon realized he was doing this on purpose and we changed lanes to get away from him. He also changed lanes and continued in front of us.
We were also dealing with big trucks and it became increasingly difficult to get away from him and then panic set in. We were forced to go illegally into the third lane over. In California trucks and tow vehicles must stay in the right two lanes on a freeway. Eventually we made our way back into the second lane and he cut in front of us again. This time he came to a complete stop! We ended up inches from his bumper. Mind you he never honked or gestured through this whole ordeal and Aaron had only been driving and towing for a short time.
Just when we thought this nightmare would never end, a Highway Patrolman on a motorcycle pulled up alongside of us and gave Aaron a thumb’s up. Our shining knight in uniform sped ahead of us with lights flashing and with angry gestures he pulled over the mindless truck driver. He had obviously been behind us all that time and witnessed everything! It would not surprise me if that person ended up in jail. Aaron and I did a high five and a victory yell as we passed them by. Talk about relief and a feeling of vindication!
If you ever feel these wrongful doers are never caught, you’re mistaken. It’s just not worth getting mad because it robs us of our driving enjoyment and peace of mind. Besides, we’re setting an example for our family and determining the mood for our passengers. I can’t think of anything worse than being a passenger with someone going off the rails while driving. Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you still holds true today. I’m finding ways of keeping my driving experiences joy-filled. I’m purposefully being more patient, thoughtful and praying for the offenders while playing my favorite music, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. It really works!
I hope this article encourages you to find your own special way to experience Road Joy. It’s a lot of fun and rewarding in so many ways.
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