Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Road Rage vs. Driver Etiquette. I'm outnumbered... are you?


This morning I was driving home from dropping Tomika at school and while I was caught up in the inevitable early morning traffic jam I got to thinking about simple driver etiquette.

I was moving along, minding my own business when a red luxury car of some description roared up behind me and proceeded to sit on my ass and fully lean on the horn. Ok, granted I WAS in the so-called 'fast' lane, but considering the fact that the traffic itself was going no-where, I kinda didn't see the need for the theatrics. So, me being me, I slowed down further, aligned myself with the car in the next lane, sat there, and smiled.

WELL, you would have thought I'd stopped the car, climbed on the roof and danced the Macarena. Another furious round of beeping ensued, along with headlights being flashed, some choice gestures and yelling, (I couldn't actually hear, but by the facial contortions I have a feeling I should have been blushing). It was then followed by the driver putting their foot on, and off, the accelerator, resulting in a kind of ramming effect.

The whole performance had less than the desired effect on me, however I did find it rather amusing. I continued on my merry way, laughing to myself, until I'd had enough, and I let the car through. I glanced to the side as it passed (screeching, beeping and yelling), only to find it was a woman! And she had a CHILD in the car!!! Now for starters, far be it for me to suggest that women can't do what men do, equal opportunity and all that, but this one really surprised me. Must we go about acting like testosterone fuelled jackasses just because we can? What are we trying to prove? Have a little class ladies! I suppose it just goes to show that road rage affects us all.


Now I try, I don't always succeed, far from it, but I try to keep an even temper when I have Tomika in the car. I fully believe that kids are infinitely suggestible, and they don't need any more bad behaviour coming from their immediate surroundings than they are already subjected to on a daily basis. E.g., Tomika hears and sees enough rubbish from her peers, TV and other random sources, and she doesn't need me to set her a bad example as well.

Having said that, what happened to driver etiquette? Is it a dying art? Does anyone even know what good manners are any more? I don't know about anyone else, but I was taught a few niceties when I learnt to drive that seem to have been lost to 'olden times'. For instance, when you merge, doesn't it make sense to go one by one? Like a zipper...? And how hard is it, once I've kindly offered you the spot in front of me, to say 'Thanks'? I don't mean you have to get out of your car, get my address, and send me a Thank You card. Just give me a wave. Hell, a simple nod of the head will suffice... Something!

Yesterday morning I saw a taxi, A TAXI; pass me on the LEFT SHOULDER of the Freeway, he went under a bridge that had an on-ramp on the other side, for a total of about 100 meters until the traffic on either side of him forced him to merge. The entire time he was in the Emergency lane. Now, you would think that a taxi driver would have more sense wouldn't you? I mean, that's his livelihood right there that he is messing with. If he was pulled over by the Police, or reported by another pissed-off driver, he'd be in six different shades of shit.

Maybe we all need to purchase a set of these to get us safely from A to Z.

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