While attempting to enter a freeway from the service lane, a friend of mine experienced a most surprising incident of road rage.
Only after he told me his story did I realize that I am probably guilty of gauging the possibility of irritating the drivers near me to the point of danger purely by age. The younger they are, the less likely I am to honk my horn or wave my hands in the air wildly as a sign that I think they just pulled a really, stupid move.
Apparently, my thinking is a bit naive.
The service lane my friend was on merges with the entrance ramp to the freeway. He made all the right moves to signal his intent to merge but could see a minivan coming up behind him. It was obvious the minivan had no intention of letting my friend merge – at least not easily. He kept the nose of his bumper just at the tail end of my friend’s car. (I won’t say where, exactly, this incident occurred but suffice it to say that drivers there are not known for passive and friendly driving.)
In a split-second decision, my friend chose to merge anyway, stepping on the gas to gain that extra foot or so needed to clear the nose of the minivan. He must have misjudged because he ended up clipping the minivan’s front head-light.
I can hear my friend now. “Crap.” (my parents read this blog)
Not wanting to block the on ramp, he continued to enter the freeway and then pulled over on the shoulder expecting Minivan Man to pull up behind him.
The next thing my friend sees is the minivan ramming the driver side of his car to shove him completely off of the freeway’s shoulder.
Shaken, but not completely stirred, my friend climbs out of the car ready for a verbal “discussion”, at the very least, only to see a 75 year old man climb out of the minivan shaking mad.
Now, that would make you pause, wouldn’t it? Blows my age theory right out the window. No, Virginia, there is no age limit on road rage.
A policeman, a witness, and several calls later, the man is facing some potential charges and fines.
I think that’s an odd story all by itself, but there’s actually an interesting chain of events that led up to this little traffic violation.
My friend normally drives a nice, big, I-eat-little-cars-for-breakfast Hummer which his daughter had landed in a snowbank just a few days before. The Hummer was, therefore, having an unscheduled surgery and out of commission. My friend was driving a rental car. So, not only is his own car already in the shop, but now the rental car he was using in the meantime is mangled AND he’s got to explain the road rage incident to the rental car agency.
I suspect that were my friend driving his Hummer the day of the incident, the whole thing never would have happened.