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Road Rage!
Old 04-11-2019, 02:37 PM   #1
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Road Rage!

So my wife called me from work, said she wasn't feeling good, and asked if I would come pick her up. I drove to town, and we were about half way home when this blue pickup or SUV appeared behind me. I have no idea where it came from, never saw it approach, but it was driving about 6" from my back bumper. I couldn't see the driver but he/she was making some kind of hand gestures, obviously ticked off about something. I was in the left lane, with a white minivan next to me in the right lane, so I couldn't change lanes. There was a whole line of cars in front of me, so I couldn't speed up. And the truck was following so close I didn't dare slow down.

Suddenly the truck whips over into the left turn lane, passes up around me, and cuts back into my lane nearly taking out the front end of my car. I stomped on my brake and swerved into the right lane, nearly hitting the minivan next to me. They were probably wondering what kind of idiot move I was making, in my effort to avoid being hit by the truck. I felt bad for putting them at risk.

My wife had her eye's closed trying to rest on the way home and was scared awake as I'm stopping and swerving. Really didn't help the way she was feeling.

With my heart pounding, we followed the truck about 3-4 blocks, doing the same speed since there were more cars in front of me. I memorize the license plate and tried to calm down, when it pulled off to make a left turn and got stuck behind a box truck at the light. As if to get my revenge, I naively honked my horn as I drove by that idiot, laughing at myself as to how futile that was.

My first thought was how stupid that aggressive driving was when they were just going to turn off the road a few blocks later anyway. Was it really worth endangering my wife and I, and whoever was in the minivan next to me? Even if I was able to move they would have saved what, maybe 5 seconds?

When I got home I looked online to see if there was any way to report aggressive drivers, but was surprised there really wasn't. The state patrol said to call the local office, which of course the link was broken on their web site. It's not their jurisdiction anyway. The counties web site specifically said not to call 911 unless it was happening at the moment. Sorry, I was too busy defensive driving to be making a phone call at the time. Eventually, I gave up and decided it wasn't worth pursuing further. Still, it's sad that someone can drive like that with no repercussions. Especially knowing they may end up causing another accident in the future.

Two days later I'm also surprised how much detail I recall from that brief moment of insanity. The color of the truck, the license plate number, the style and color of the minivan next to me, which lane I was in, where I was on the road I was traveling, the speed I was driving, etc. Normally I would be oblivious to such things, but that quick trauma quickly etched it into my brain and now I can't forget it.

I'm also a little ashamed I let it upset me so much I had thoughts of revenge running through my mind. Thankfully, I am not that kind of man, but I thought about it...

Sorry to vent... I'm just glad no one was hurt and no damage was done to any of the vehicles involved. Please people, slow down, chill out, and be kind. The world won't end if you're five minutes late. If it's really that important, leave five minutes earlier!
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:44 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately it's a daily occurrence for me...i.e. getting cut off and then when you honk they flip you off and brake check you. I really have to try my hardest to let it go because I've gotten into it with them and things escalated quickly. Later on I always felt stupid/ashamed that I let it get to me and how dangerous it was because most of those type of people don't have much to lose.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:45 PM   #3
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the truck was following so close I didn't dare slow down.
Sorry you had to go through that; it's far too common.

But I think you may have made a very common mistake. Some people even take it further and keep speeding up if possible. Bad Idea, IMHO.

Better to very gradually slow down to leave plenty of room in front of you, and maybe let that white minivan get ahead so you can pull in behind it. The tailgater has a laser focus on your rear bumper, so is very unlikely to hit you if you slow gradually.

That's the way I deal with those situations.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:51 PM   #4
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Such a common story. Lived it very often when I lived in Atlanta. Thankfully, I rarely drive anywhere these days and when I do, it's going along the country roads where NO ONE is in a hurry.

I think this is just another symptom of how so many folks are all about "ME! ME! ME!!!". It's sad, it's infuriating and it's all too common.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mountainsoft View Post
we followed the truck about 3-4 blocks
Not smart.

Quote:
As if to get my revenge, I naively honked my horn as I drove by that idiot
Definitely not smart.
Quote:

I'm also a little ashamed I let it upset me so much I had thoughts of revenge running through my mind.
Smart.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:57 PM   #6
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With my heart pounding, we followed the truck about 3-4 blocks, doing the same speed since there were more cars in front of me. I memorize the license plate and tried to calm down, when it pulled off to make a left turn and got stuck behind a box truck at the light. As if to get my revenge, I naively honked my horn as I drove by that idiot, laughing at myself as to how futile that was...I'm also a little ashamed I let it upset me so much I had thoughts of revenge running through my mind. Thankfully, I am not that kind of man, but I thought about it...
While I'm glad you both escaped with no injury or accident, this is the part that I would caution against for the future for anyone reading this. Things could have gone much worse.

I know it's easy for me to say, I'm not the one in the car at the moment, but when you are that upset (natural) it's easy to make the least wise decision. That driver was clearly agitated at something. When you let him pass the safest option was to let that be the end of it. By following him to get his info, and by honking at him, you added some risk to the situation. What if he was out of his mind, drugged, had a gun next to him ready - anything could happen. What if he then decided to follow you home...

I also figure idiots like that are likely to cause an accident, so once they pass, I leave extra room and let them fade away in the distance. I don't even want to be stuck near them at the next light.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:58 PM   #7
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Glad you are okay as you can be. I remember all the road rage I used to see in the metro KC area and it's one thing I don't miss.

I remember years ago getting behind a madman who had apparently installed a switch for his brake lights. Yeah, that was genius. He could out stop anyone on the highway. It's too easy to have a life altering incident when everyone is playing fair, luckily that person is nothing but an example of someone who shouldn't have a DL.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:59 PM   #8
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Better to very gradually slow down to leave plenty of room in front of you, and maybe let that white minivan get ahead so you can pull in behind it. The tailgater has a laser focus on your rear bumper, so is very unlikely to hit you if you slow gradually.
That's what I usually do, I'm in no hurry so I slow down and change lanes when possible. Get out of their way and just let the crazy's be crazy.

This entire incident was so quick I didn't have any time to do much of anything. Probably less than eight seconds from the time the truck appeared on my bumper till it was cutting over in front of me. I barely had time to look around to see what options I might have, let alone take any action. I think I might have slowed down slightly out of habit, but who knows.

I literally glanced at the mirror, saw the truck appear out of nowhere, looked to my right and saw the minivan, looked ahead, looked at mirror again, saw truck swerve left, looked left to watch it go by, looked forward to see the truck coming back over, stomped on my brake, swerved right, remembered van next to me, looked right to make sure I didn't hit them, and looked ahead again in disbelief. It was all strictly reaction, no real time to think about what options I had.
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:06 PM   #9
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When you let him pass the safest option was to let that be the end of it. By following him to get his info, and by honking at him, you added some risk to the situation.
I wasn't "following" him by choice, he was right in front of me in the flow of traffic. I still had cars behind and next to me and he wasn't going anywhere because of the other cars in front of him. I was actually relieved when he turned off.

Yeah, honking was probably a stupid and meaningless move. Still, I just did a little friendly beep-beep as I passed, not a long lay on the horn.
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:12 PM   #10
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If someone is tailgating me, I'll keep on the throttle but nudge the brakes just enough so the brake lights come on..... hopefully seeing brake lights unexpectedly will wake them up as to how close they are.
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:25 PM   #11
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Yeah, honking was probably a stupid and meaningless move.
Indeed it was! You added nothing to the safety of your DW and yourself and perhaps added a smidge of danger. At best, it just didn't matter.

Here in Chicago, situations such as you described (and worse) are very, very common and frequent. Statistically, your best chance of survival is to have the personal fortitude to display absolutely zero aggressive response behavior such as following, honking, flipping the bird, etc. And to know the best passive avoidance maneuvers.

Sorry this happened to you but would suggest you meditate on how you'll react next time, and there will be a next time, so that you maximize the safety of your family.
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:25 PM   #12
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pfftt...you must live in some small town where things like this never happen.

Living in DC for 12 years...im jaded to events like this. Still sucks when it happens, but it does happen whether you want it to or not.

Really, the only thing you could have done in that situation is put your turn signal on to get over in the right lane, slowly decelerate and get over...if it scared you that much.

Living in DC...I developed very aggressive driving habits. Since being gone from there for 1.5 years, my driving has changed drastically. Theres just too many people there. I dont tailgate like I used to...but I still will occasionally pass in a double yellow zone without even skipping a beat. If someone is going waaaaay under the speed limit...ill get around them. Not saying its right...but it is what it is. And I wont pass on a blind road where theres a hill/crest or turns where I cant see for a while...that makes it soooo much more acceptable, lol.
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:33 PM   #13
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I may be wrong but my opinion is that so many more people these days are on opioids, meth, and other mood-altering drugs that many times they are hung over or having some kind of withdrawal. Like an alcohol-fueled rage.
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:40 PM   #14
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I had a similar road rage incident a few years ago, but with a far different outcome.

A woman came up behind me and started riding my bumper (I was doing the speed limit - 60 mph) on a two lane road and after a couple of miles, lost patience with how "slow" I was driving and attempted to pass on a left hand curve. She cut over in front of me before she was clear, striking the left front of my car with the right rear of her SUV, executing a perfect "pit maneuver" on her vehicle.

Her SUV swapped ends, flew down the embankment backwards, rolling three times and going end over end twice. She landed upside down and crawled out the back of the SUV with what appeared to be, according to others who stopped and talked with her, only minor injuries. EMS did come and haul her away.

Of course she had no insurance so I had to pay my deductible for repairs to my car...
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:43 PM   #15
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I may be wrong but my opinion is that so many more people these days are on opioids, meth, and other mood-altering drugs that many times they are hung over or having some kind of withdrawal. Like an alcohol-fueled rage.
Its true that more people are on mind altering substances, but I dont believe that contributes to more road rage.

Best way it was described to me...take a scale from 1 to 10...1 being calm, 10 is berserk mode. When you drive, whether you realize it or not...your senses are waaaay heightened. Its happening subconsciously...so you're already operating at a 4 or 5 without your knowledge (assuming your day at work didnt suck, then you're already amped up.) You're operating a multi ton vehicle at high rates of speed. All it takes is for someone to cut another person off, tailgate, etc etc. That 4 or 5 that everyone operates at now jumps to 7 or 8. Now when the other person retaliates and brake checks, screams, throws stuff out the window...add another point. When it gets to 10...people use their vehicles as bumper cars, guns are pulled, etc etc...ugly stuff.

Think about it a different way. If you're on a sidewalk somewhere busy...people are constantly cutting in front of you, bumping you, inches from walking behind you. People stop right in the middle of where everyone walks and starts talking to friends, looking at their phone trying to figure out where to go, etc etc. When is the last time you saw someone get cut off while walking on a sidewalk...then the other person got in their face, started screaming, flicked them off, yelled mother Fer at them, etc etc. Our senses arent at a heightened state while walking at slow speeds on a sidewalk so people rarely ever rage.
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:47 PM   #16
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Sometimes bad things happen and there's nothing you can do

It's good to know you're still with us. Innocent bystanders don't always escape unharmed. Reflect on the upside, which is that you and DW got home safely.

Resolve never to be "that guy" yourself. Then, let it go.

If this sounds unsympathetic, it's because sympathy isn't what you need. What you need is reassurance that it wasn't your fault, and guidance for putting the incident behind you. It wasn't your fault. Put it behind you.

I suspect that you will be a safer driver, at least for a while. Close calls tend to do that for us. But I'd say the same thing if you came close to being injured (or worse) during a bank robbery, terrorist action or shark attack. You're still in one piece, so move on.

Peace out.
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:48 PM   #17
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I don't get why it's so hard for people to just go with the flow of the traffic, there are always those who impede and then there are those who want to fly right over everyone else.
Oh and leave the left lane for the faster moving traffic.
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:02 PM   #18
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Lot's of idiot drivers. Not long ago I was driving home at night when I almost had a head on. The person slowly started coming into my lane with no where for me to go except down a ditch. I pulled over as far as I could and luckily they swerved back just in time. I bet $$$ it was someone texting.
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:09 PM   #19
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I worked with a gentleman that was in a war with all the drivers surrounding him. They were either tailgating him or they were trying to run him off the road. We all had company cars, but no one would ride with him.

I later read that this behavior is not uncommon and it's just another form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder a/k/a OCD. It's a mental condition and a form of behavior. I don't know if it's treatable, but it sure is frustrating if you run into very many with the problem.
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:35 PM   #20
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Thoughts.

1. Since you could not have done anything different, other than daring to honk, the rager may have been mad about something else and you were just the easiest target. No doubt he/she would be gratified to know you are wondering/being warned about what you could have done different.

2. That "I'd take off your front end but I don't want to ruin my car, so this is just to scare you and show my contempt" maneuver is common around these parts. It is best to still one's beating heart and be glad they didn't take it any farther.

3. Generally the best thing to do, in cases of aggressive driving, is to act humble and let the aggressor have his/her way. Easier said than done, but survival comes before pride.
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