Thursday, April 17, 2008

ROAD RAGE



Okay, I admit it. I sometimes get snotty behind the wheel of my car. I use words, not totally bad words, but words.

This was brought to my attention very forcibly when the grandgirl was around two and safe in her babyseat in the back of my car. A car had cut me off, suddenly and unexpectedly, and before I could open my mouth, the word "Jerk!" in a toddler lisp soared up and over and into my ears from behind me. Good for lots of later laughs but a stark reminder of how often I must have used the word for the grandgirl to spout it out so casually.

But I would never think of endangering anyone else or even showing the finger as the photo above has it. I often joke when I'm driving with passengers and some idiot on the road has nearly sideswiped me, "Any volunteers in the car to show him the finger?" and we laugh and bury the incident and forget how very close to death we have all come.

Like tonight. I'm driving north on a ramp to the 404, trailing a very slow moving white SUV. So I move to the right of him and all the cars behind me do the same. He's doing at least 40kms under the limit. Briefly I wonder what's wrong with him and then I put the pedal to the metal as they say and accelerate to the speed limit to pass him. I don't like passing on the right but here there is no choice. I'd like to be safe and at the right speed before hitting the highway just ahead.

Without warning, the SUV swings into my lane and I catch one look at the driver's face before swerving my small car on to the shoulder on my right, barely missing this behemoth of a vehicle and the concrete barrier. Thank goodness for the slight shoulder. Thank goodness for my quick reaction.

The driver of the SUV had been laughing at me. A great big horse laugh. He sped away at double his former speed, pounding on his steering wheel in glee.

I will never forget his face.

17 comments:

  1. He was laughing at you, pounding his wheel in glee. That's unbelievable. I am so pleased you have quick reactions, WWW. I thought I would pop over for a visit, as I haven't bee round at yours for a while.

    I hardly ever use my horn, have trouble finding it, in fact. My dad taught me never to use it in anger, only as a safety warning.

    Glad you are okay, lovely WWW. I hope your assignments are going well.

    H
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely to hear from you, H. I must pop over to your place.
    I never use the horn either. I didn't even think of it when he veered deliberately into my lane.
    I still feel a little sick.
    All assignments are chugging,though a little behind the 8-ball.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a bastard! Unfortunately some sick individuals actually enjoy playing lethal games like that with other road users. A friend of ours was killed many years ago in a head-on collision after overtaking an old geezer. It's still a mystery what happened but I suspect the old guy speeded up as Ricky was overtaking and prevented him getting back into the right lane.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's at times like those I have to fight hard against the desire to react, and remember K T Berger's excellent little book, "Zen Driving". I always try to drive according to its teachings, but it can be damn hard sometimes. Particularly on the North American continent, where the 'lethal idiot driver' percentage is so much higher than in Europe, despite the lower density of vehicles on the road.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just had to pop over to have a look and see that I'll have to come back when I have time for a good read! I see you're in Toronto for the moment and that is where I'm taking the book in early May - not a very exotic boarding pass, but it's the best I can do for now!
    I've never been to Newfoundland but it's on my list - I'm a Cape Bretoner by birth and heritage but find I love this gentler west coast.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Jerk is much too good a word.
    A..hole is the one you'd be looking for, WWW !

    Glad no harm came of it, other than raised blood-pressure possible.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have many choice epithets I use when morons like that do incredibly dangerous things with a vehicle including some really filthy ones a French girl taught years and years ago. Choice words indeed. Bastard indeed.

    Beau in Seattle

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nick:
    What a painful reminder that this stuff can kill. I am so sorry for what happened to your friend. Thank goodness there are more good drivers than 'jerks' out there. Defensive driving is the way to go!

    RJA:
    I apply the 'bless them' epithet through clenched teeth at times, but last night blessing him was the last thing that came to mind. Murderous rage more like.

    Welcome P!
    I just love Cape Breton, and have spent a fair amount of time there with all the ferry catching I have to do. I can totally understand your affinity for your West coast island home though, beautiful!

    T:
    Sometimes words just fail me, 'jerk' didn't even leave my lips last night. but I found myself mouthing 'evil!' afterwards, we so rarely see stark raving evil on the move...

    Beau:

    I have a well-stocked bar of Irish epithets, some unprintable, (or printable without translation!)but all this leaves in the face of such a narrow death-miss. Shock and paralysis for a while....

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  9. Been in that same situation myself and with an SUV driver--what is it about those beasts that causes human beings to turn into such ruthless SOB's? I am constantly amazed by those drivers and frightened out of my wits at times. The only other fear I can relate it too was mortar barrages in Vietnam. I Sometimes think those damned SUV's are nothing but mutated mortar barrages.

    Beau in Seattle

    ReplyDelete
  10. episodes like that really shake you up. I am glad you were uninjured. That guy is not out of this world yet, One day he will meet his match.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh, I forgot an important part of the story. Ricky's three year old daughter Katey was also in the car. Miraculously she escaped with cuts and bruises - but no more daddy.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beau:
    I think the thoughtless purchase of the SUV is the start, not giving a damn for the environment. Easily morphs into not caring for anyone else either. Good point on the Vietnam metaphor.
    GM:
    Absolutely. I actually saw a guy being arrested after he careened down the highway with obscene slogans on his SUV. My passengers and I cheered. Far too rare.
    Nick:
    Poor little Katey, I hope that old geezer was charged and his licence removed for life.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  13. Fraid not. Nobody could prove anything so that was that. I guess the only immediate witness was Ricky.

    ReplyDelete
  14. oh man i would be furious. FURIOUS! FURIOUS!!! what is the point of doing that? why would someone do that? why is it a good idea to taunt someone who is just trying to drive down the road?

    i am getting hot under the collar just thinking about it.

    i am like you; i never flip people off, i never honk. but i get very angry. and i do mutter in the car.

    anythig more than that seems unsafe.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Nick:
    It makes the whole thing so much worse when there is no redress.
    Laurie:
    It occurred to me later he could have been high on drugs? Or mentally ill? Otherwise, it is so hard to believe that evil people like him are out there.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  16. I couldn't post first time I read this - I was just too shocked for words.
    I am so glad that you are ok - and I really hope that karma comes back and whacks the driver over the head. Hard.

    ReplyDelete

Some of you are having trouble, I've removed captcha and verification so we'll see how that goes. My apologies. Blogger is putting up far too many roadblocks. Thanks for the emails alerting me.
wisewebwomanatgmail.com