We feel anonymous and autonomous when we're behind the wheel. We think life should be fair and everyone should follow the rules (except maybe us if we are in a hurry or just having too much fun!). We're not invisible though and our decisions and indecision affect those around us, sometimes much more than we realize.
I jokingly say that I don't get Road Rage, I just narrate the trip. I tell people where they came from, where they are going, things about their parents, and anatomically impossible things they can try since driving doesn't seem to be working out very well for them. Often this humor deescalates the situation with no harm done. That narration does tend to go way down when I have spectators inside the car because then I feel more accountable for my thoughts and words as well as actions. When driving alone it can easily become a dangerous norm.
Yesterday, I had a guy fly up on my rear end in the fast or passing lane when the entire right lane was clear. We were going eighty in a 65mph zone and that wasn't fast enough for him. He wanted to be first and not make the effort to go around me. I really let it aggravate me since his being a foot behind me on a declining, wavy mountain road seemed like a blatant act of aggression. I decided to take the high road and move over, but first I stuck my hand out the window and let him know he was number one! He responded by slowing down to pace me and to let me know that he thought I was number one and babbling incoherently instead of watching the road. I slowed down until he lost interest and resumed his quest instead of using him for target practice. Not my best day, but I don't tend to stay mad for long.
Sometimes having the heightened responsibility of having a CWP is the best form of anger management. It's a constant presence that reminds us that things can go sideways fast if we don't have complete control of ourselves even when we can't control others or our environment.
Today I was driving in the rain to visit my chiropractor and trying to get from the center lane across two lanes to a side street. A pickup truck decided it needed to get there before me and quickly changed lanes and sped up as I started to turn. I took in stride (not) and yelled out of my open window, "Go ahead then, Bitch!" knowing immediately after the words escaped my mouth that it would be my friendly neighborhood chiropractor. Ding! Ding! Ding! It was. I don't know if he heard me or not, but it wasn't my finest moment and I felt more than a little ashamed. Additionally, when I have to visit the chiropractor it is because I am in a lot of pain and not in good fighting form. That should give me pause before needlessly escalating conflicts with autonomous strangers.
Well, there you have it. Sometimes I am not the epitome of calm, cool, and collected and when I'm wondering why people are such dicks it turns out I'm the dick.
See Dick Drive. See Dick be a dick. See Dick die. Don't be a dick and drive.
Don't be a keyboard warrior behind the wheel.