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Road Rage

(are you guilty of this?)

When you're out driving, are you conscientious?  Are you fully aware that once you drive off your own property, you are sharing the roadways with others?  Does this little fact of life sit well with you?

Or is every other driver on the road "in your way?"  Your competition to reach some imaginary finish line?

When other drivers make an error (which everyone does at one time or another), do you shrug it off, or do you lose your temper?  Do you speed up and tailgate the other vehicle, aiming to teach the driver a lesson for cutting you off or whatever his crime of the moment happened to be?  Does this sound like you?

If so, PAY ATTENTION! This may be one of the most important things you ever read.

First of all, I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but YOU DO NOT OWN THE ROAD. Driving is a privilege, not a right, and part of earning that privilege involves sharing the streets and highways with others.  Sure, at times it's no fun, but that's life.

Secondly, what are you trying to prove by such a childish exhibition?  What are you accomplishing besides making an ass of yourself?  You're acting like a baby in diapers.  "Waaahhhhh ... that guy cut me off!  He can't do that!  THIS IS MY LANE!!!"  Oh, boo-hoo.  Spare me.  If this is the most you ever have to worry about, you're pretty damned lucky.

Third, there's a name for this behavior.  It's called road rage.  And it is EXTREMELY illegal.  It has (unfortunately) become so prevalent in our society that law enforcement officials are now trained to spot the signs of aggressiveness behind the wheel and take appropriate action, which means at the very least a ticket which you may not be able to afford either financially or in terms of points.  Or, at worst, arrest.  Maybe even conviction for attempted murder or even murder!  Yes, it has happened!  YOU'LL SPEND 25 YEARS TO LIFE IN JAIL BECAUSE SOMEBODY INADVERTENTLY CUT YOU OFF. Brilliant!

Are you combative when you drive?  If so, it only takes a few small steps to get from mere anger to physical assault, and then you're in trouble.  If the other person is hurt, you're in more trouble.  If the other person is hurt seriously, you're in deeper trouble.  If the other person is hurt fatally, your life as you know it is over, too.  And don't say it can't happen to you.  It certainly can, if you act like an infant when you drive.

Dissuaded yet?  Or are these words making absolutely no impression?  Well, if they didn't convince you, maybe this will ... NEXT TIME IT COULD BE YOU WHO GETS THE WORST OF IT!
When you're flipping out because somebody trespassed against you, accidentally or on purpose, how do you know whom you're dealing with?

How do you know the other person isn't bigger than you are?  And even if you're six-foot-five and weigh 300 pounds, how do you know the other person isn't armed?  A gun is a great equalizer.  If you're on the wrong side of it, it doesn't really matter the size or sex of the person pointing it, now does it?

How do you know the other person won't use that gun or whatever resources he or she has to put you promptly and permanently out of your misery?  You have no way of knowing the other driver's state of mind.  He or she may be drunk or high.  He or she may have just been fired from a job or had a fight with his/her spouse.  That driver may have already been in a foul mood and is perfectly willing to take it out on you!

Even if the other driver is meek and well mannered, if he or she feels threatened, there's no telling what could happen.  Few people are going to sit back and wait to see what will develop when an enraged driver jumps out of his car and stalks over to theirs.  Most people will feel cornered and will defend themselves by whatever means they can.  And if you live through it, you will get zero sympathy from any corner because you were the aggressor.  That doesn't sit too well with law enforcement officers.

We all lose our tempers from time to time, and on the road it's sometimes easy to do, especially the way some people drive.  But next time somebody angers you while you're driving, stop and think.  You can do a great deal of harm and, quite possibly, endanger your own life and that of your passengers, if you have any.  Put things in perspective!  It's not the end of the world if a mistake happens.  If that mistake resulted in an accident, let the law handle it.  If it didn't, then for heaven's sake, chill out!

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