Road Rage


I live in the suburbs like millions of other Americans and commute to work daily.  Normally, I have about a 30 to 40 minute commute, depending on traffic.  Lately, due to construction on the Interstate, my commute time has become greatly increased, more like an hour a day – each way.  Spending this much time on the road, I’ve become increasingly aware of the driving behaviors of people and their seeming unwillingness to drive in a sane and reasonable manner.

Speeding, changing lanes without signals, cutting off other cars, and my pet peeve – tailgating, are common fare on the Interstates of Nashville.  It strikes me that something is terribly wrong.  Scarcely a day goes by that I don’t see at least one incident that probably should be reported to the police: an accident, a stranded motorist, a stray animal on the roadway, a huge piece of rubber tire, or potholes in the road.  Between construction, road hazards, discourteous drivers, and more cars on the road every day, it becomes increasingly frustrating and difficult to survive.

Many people are fighting this frustration with an escalated aggression that has been dubbed “road rage.”  Indeed, we have probably all seen or experienced it.  The car that tailgates to force us to change lanes, the car that cuts us off with a rapid lane change, the car that weaves in a out of traffic to stay in a lane perceived to be moving a bit faster.  No wonder we are killing ourselves and each other in record numbers – a useless loss.

Many solutions have been suggested: more law enforcement, improved roads, safer cars, drivers’ education.  Good ideas, yet, these are external solutions.  The real solution is within each of us.  We must change our attitudes toward each other and drive with a more tolerance and courtesy.  Never happen?  But look how attitude has changed toward wearing seat belts and drunk driving.  We can do better than we are doing.  We cannot wait for the other person to change first.  It has to be an individual commitment from each of us  – and it has to be soon.

Folks, we are not in the Indianapolis 500.  It does not matter who gets there first or fastest.  You think you are the only person who knows how to drive?  So give the rest of ’em a break!  Rediscover the speed limit.  If they want to pass you, let ’em.  So what?  You’ve got nothing to prove.  If you get home from work 5 or 10 minutes later, will it really matter?  So, let that truck merge in front of you.  He’s a professional driver and in this traffic all day – do a random act of kindness.  So, that stupid lady is on a cell phone and won’t get out of your way?  Empathize.  Maybe she’s worried sick about the kids at home.

Let’s not be caught up in this madness on the highways.  Sure, we’ve got to go with the flow, but we don’t have to be rude and we don’t have to become angry with others because they are so often discourteous.  It doesn’t matter.  It just doesn’t matter.  We cannot control others and we cannot change the world – but we can each change ourselves.

Give a little.  Stay alive.  Take it easy out there.  I am!

©1998 Sheila Moss

Only yesterday on the Interstate a large truck rode my bumper, way too close even though I was in the right-hand lane and doing the speed limit, 70 mph. What do you think about road rage? Have you ever been the victim — or maybe the aggressor?

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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11 Responses to Road Rage

  1. Bun Karyudo says:

    I agree with you about the need to relax and lot let ourselves get worked up about the driving of others. It applies in other areas of our lives too, of course. Some people get fanatical in supermarkets, for example, about finding absolutely the shortest line. I’m not sure what to call that, though. Line rage?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. energywriter says:

    You said it so well, Sheila. sd

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bob Kimbro says:

    About 12 years I was riding my motorcycle north on I-65 in rush hour traffic. Around the Brentwood exit, a pick up truck almost hit me. Thinking he didn’t see me, I blew the horn. Next thing I know, this ass hat is coming into my lane, right next to me, with blood in his eyes. How dare you blow your horn at me?! I had no choice but to get on the inside shoulder while this idiot stood on his horn and flipped me the triumphant finger. He looked just like Snively Whiplash after he’s foreclosed on a home. Another reason I’m thankful to be working from home.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I always look for clues on why someone is driving “that way” and like you, give them the benefit of the doubt. Many years ago I was with a friend who was driving. He was yelling at the car in front that was driving down the center of two lanes on an exit from a major interstate. He called them stupid. I pointed out that the license plate was from many states away and they were not sure if they needed to be in the right or left lane so were riding the center until they saw a sign. I was right. As soon as the signs came in view they moved to the appropriate lane. Sometimes it’s not that obvious. I can get distracted when I’m running late for an appointment or an airport drop-off. We need to be kinder to each other. Now having said all that, that doesn’t mean I don’t get annoyed and say bad words…….No one is perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent points. My biggest frustration are people that go around you but when they go to get in front, you have to slam on your breaks or else no longer have a bumper. Most of the time I let things like this go. When my husband is in the car, he proceeds to reach over and slam on the horn, making me look obnoxious. I usually don’t use the horn as I am a strong believer that you cannot fix stupid.

    Liked by 2 people

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