There are many things that I don’t understand in life and one of them is Road Rage. Oh, I am not saying I have never been annoyed by another driver or waved my hand at them as I mutter a bad word or two over their stupidity. I am talking about the serious Road Rage that leads to someone beating another person or shooting at them.
Just last month I encountered my first serious incident of Road Rage. (Thankfully not the latter more serious one I just mentioned.)
It was on the day that I went on my daughter’s first-grade field trip to the zoo. After seeing her get on the bus, I left to drive and meet her class at the zoo. My mind was already on where I needed to meet them as I zipped down the road.
Now I will admit I probably was going over the speed limit. The road that the school is on is a residential street though no houses face the actual street. The posted speed limit is 30 MPH, but I would say 75% of the people exceed that. (Not that it makes it right or anything, but just so you have a feel for the area.)
I was only a block from the school when I came up behind a slower car. I slowed down. The other car slowed down even more. OK, I got it. I probably was going too fast, and the man was trying to let me know.
He slowed down more and gestured out the driver’s side window. Now he is clearly going WAY under the speed limit, and I am right behind him. If I am tailgating him, it really wasn’t on purpose, but he kept slowing down. I was watching his car more than his waving hand so if he was flipping me off, I missed that, but I did realize he was upset.
He then stuck his hand out again and gestured to the side of the road. He steered toward the side of the road all the while waving his hand. At the time, I wasn’t sure what he wanted. I thought maybe he was trying to get me to go around him, so I sped up and passed him.
Nope. That wasn’t what he wanted. He proceeded to speed up and tailgate me. Now I only had a glance at the driver but knew he was male and larger than I am. If he really thought I was going to pull over so he could (at best) berate me on my driving, he was sorely mistaken.
I have read in the newspaper and online of people who were beaten or shot over incidents such as this. I even read of a woman who was sexually assaulted over a road incident. Now I don’t think anything would have happened in our nice suburb but heck no am I going to put myself in that type of situation.
I was never angry during this whole situation. I went from confused to nervous. The man was intimidating me by tailgating me. It made my hands shake as I tried to figure out what exactly I had done to get him so angry.
As he followed me, I considered pulling into a gas station but by this time I got to it, I guess he had realized I wasn’t stopping for him. I did call my husband and relayed what happened to him. He tried to give the guy the benefit of the doubt that maybe he was alerting me to a problem with my car. I checked it when arriving at the zoo, and it was fine.
All I can assume is the guy either thought I was tailgating him or driving too fast in the neighborhood and was angry about it. I didn’t hit his car. I didn’t pull out in front of him. In my mind, I didn’t do anything that warranted his reaction. And even if it was, is it really his job to pull me over and yell at me? I certainly don’t think so. And given that same situation, I am not pulling over. I am just glad the situation didn’t turn out to be worse than it was.