Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Road rage

Two years ago, I was at fault in a car accident in town where I tried the beat the yellow light to turn left. As I was turning, the car in the other lane coming towards me had the same idea. It resulted in my very first accident, shown here:

I was in the little car, and I was OK, and the people in the Jeep were even more OK. Even though this happened two years ago, I rarely drive through that intersection without thinking about the accident, and you better believe I am infinitely more careful in my left turns, especially at 7th north and 9th east.

Now, earlier today I drove that same course, and I felt edgy because I knew I had to turn left here. I hate it because this entire section of road has no left arrows, so turning is always tricky. Well, the light turned yellow, and I decided to wait this cycle out and try next time. I was too nervous, there were cars that were close coming the other way and could have tried - it wasn't worth the risk. The last time sure wasn't.

And then you know what happened? The man in the truck behind me honked and I looked back just in time to see him throwing his hands in the air and giving me dirty looks. I was afraid to keep watching because I was afraid he was going to bring out the bird, and of all things that hurt my feelings, people flipping me off while driving is one of them. I'd like to note that it is mainly while driving that I hate this, and I think part of it is because I have no way to defend myself.

And that was the problem today. This man had no idea what I had been through, and while it wasn't earth shattering, it did bend my reality just a little bit, to the point where - yes, I'm willing to wait an extra two minutes for another green light if it means I'm guaranteed not to cause another wreck.

After the light turned green, I pulled up into the intersection, and the man drove around me to go straight, honking all the while. And all I could think was, "This man's next 15 minutes, at least, are ruined because - because of what? Nothing." At least, when I get REALLY mad at someone's driving I'm mad for that long....sometimes I have a temper? But a while back, I heard a story of someone becoming upset because an "irresponsible" driver was weaving in and out of freeway traffic as fast as he could, which is inherently dangerous, amiright? Suddenly, the driver got the distinct impression that the man driving the car was trying to get to his wife in the hospital after a life-threatening scenario. Now, if you're a person who believes in promptings like that, then that one in particular is significant. I feel like, so often in driving, it is so easy for us to judge whoever is next to us, because without them being there to defend themselves, we will always, in our minds, be right and justified.

It's an attitude that easily carries over to other aspects of our lives, and it just seems like life would be less frustrating if we would give each other the benefit of the doubt and allow people their faults. I know I have mine, and when I'm not even given the chance to defend my honor, it hurts - it's like I wasn't given that opportunity. I also think it's because we cannot be held responsible for our reactions. Who will ever know we were hateful to another while driving?

Well, I certainly didn't mean for that to be so passionate. It's something I'm working on as well. Road rage is super easy to get involved in, especially here. But, if we're another minute or two late, what does it matter? Is it worth showing a neighbor, a brother or sister, complete disrespect that seems so right to us in the heat of the moment, but could ruin their entire day? Just something to consider.


  1. I felt a little guilty reading this. I think you're so right saying that we think we can be hateful in our cars because no one will know. So true.

  2. Thank you for this post. I too hate when others honk or get upset at my driving. Because of this I rarely use my horn. Thanks for not trying to shoot the gap. I would have been sad if you'd gotten into another accident.