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June 24, 2012

Road Rage Revisited

Road.Rage.Revisited.jpgRoad Rage

I was ashamed of myself yesterday.

The National Institute of Mental Health calls it “Intermittent Explosive Disorder.”  We know it as “ROAD RAGE.”

In my advancing age, I was driving rather leisurely at a legal speed east on Verona Road, stopping for a light, before turning right on 11 Mile Road, to head past Firekeepers Casino, for a casual chat with a good friend in Marshall.

At the corner light, the driver behind me hit her horn, jammed her index finger out the window at me, and with screech of tires, roared past, across a yellow no-passing line, down 11 Mile.

She was apparently unhappy that 1) I had only been going 45 miles an hour in a 45 mile zone on Verona; and 2) I had the temerity to make a full stop as the light changed from yellow to red at 11 Mile.

Now, I could easily lie, here.  I could claim self righteousness.  That I was a law abiding, innocent do-bee behind the wheel.

But, I wasn’t. I had gotten pissed when she tailed gated me for 3 miles.  I got more steamed when she gave me finger and roared past on 11 Mile Road.

Then, the line of traffic from 11 Mile, turning left onto Michigan, and to the Casino was backed up a quarter mile at the next light.

The same young gal behind me, ignored two lanes of traffic, pulled up on my right, rolled down her window, starting screaming profanities at me, as her two young female friends…AND a young child in the back seat, stared.

WHAT DID I DO?

I joined the mayhem: rolling my window down, exchanging the finger exercise, and calling her names that would make a sailor blush.

The experience stayed with me the rest of the day, and now I’m writing about it here at 4:32 a.m. the next day.

And I need to change my own car behavior.

As a long time friend use to say about most small irritations and bumps in life: “It just doesn’t matter.”

But road rage DOES matter: It’s a criminal offense in Michigan.  And 56 percent of all fatal car crashes involve aggressive driving*

Here are some tips on how to avoid road rage:

Don't Offend 

  • Avoid cutting drivers off and apologize if you do so
  • Avoid tailgating and honking the horn
  • Avoid making inappropriate or offensive gestures

Don't Engage

  • Steer clear of other aggressive drivers
  • Avoid eye contact
  • Seek help if you're being followed by driving to a safe/crowded location or by dialing 911

Adjust Your Attitude 

  • Leave yourself enough time rather than trying to make good time
  • Put yourself in the other driver's shoes
  • Take a deep breath and remember escalating a situation will only make things worse.
* AAAFoundation research study

Comments

Wow! Makes one think :-)

Posted by: Cheryl Elliott | July 14, 2012

The comments are closed.