Road Rage Cure

If everyone was required to drive around with something silly in—or on—their car, people might be less angry as they drove around. And after a couple of recent incidents with road rage, that would probably be a good thing.

Most recently, over the weekend, we suddenly—and unintentionally—took a detour into the creepy and frightening land of road rage. I’m not exactly sure what set off the driver who was behind us at a stoplight. It had something to do with my oldest child, in the backseat at the time, who made eye contact with the driver of the other vehicle. She was a middle-aged woman.

Now, I don’t want to meddle in her life, but perhaps she had bottled up too much of the week’s negativity. Whatever it was that set her off, it was very clear that she had a profound need for attention, and she was willing to compromise the safety of everyone else on the road in order to get it.

At the next light, she pulled up beside us and tried to get me to roll down my window. But thank you anyway, I know better than to engage with a crazy stranger. Through the window, I could hear her screaming and cursing, and my peripheral vision was catching her wild gestures.

The light turned green. “Go!” I instructed the fifteen-year-old driver (who remained amazingly calm), and he turned left around the corner. The woman swerved her black Mercedes from a non-turning lane, and that’s when it was clear we weren’t going to lose her any time soon. At the next light, she again pulled up beside us, this time on the left, her hands still waving as her passenger window lowered.

I picked up my phone. We had just passed a cruiser, so I knew there were police in the area. I debated calling 9-1-1, but opted instead for the non-emergency number. But this was not my town, so I had to go through directory assistance, all the while, the woman was in hot pursuit and my son continued to drive.

In the back seat, my daughter was audibly hyperventilating at the same rate that I was silently hyperventilating. As the adult in the situation—and clearly the only adult despite the middle-aged woman in the car beside me screaming obscenities—I was responsible for displaying an impression of utmost calm.

“Police Department, can you hold?” the voice said.

“Uh, not really,” I responded, my heart pounding in my chest. “I’m in a road rage situation.”

Bit by bit, he took pieces of information, and I updated him on my location. One mile. Another. Finally, as the woman pulled up beside me, I was able to read her license directly to the dispatcher, and I think she realized what I was doing. It was at this light that I heard her scream, “Is that your son? You should teach him some manners!”

I have never been more relieved than I was when she turned right onto the side street at that light. She was probably trying to disappear before the police caught up to us.

But the police had her license number and a description of her car. I really hope they found her. It seems she might benefit from a lengthy discussion on, well … manners.

And I would definitely benefit from carrying a silly inflatable animal in the back of my car.

8 thoughts on “Road Rage Cure

    1. Maybe there should be an anger management test as part of the licensing process. It would be like a stress test in that the triggers would increase over the course of the test, and drivers would be monitored on their reactions. This weekend’s incident comes just weeks after my daughter was the victim of the road rage of one of the high school teachers in our town. There are definitely some people who should not drive–at least not on a road with other drivers. :-/

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Good work on keeping calm in this kind of incident. Its definitely a scary thing to be the victim of road rage. Im really impressed that you managed to refrain from making eye contact with the other party as well as keep your window rolled up. If you had not done these things there is no telling how far the situation might have escalated. Calling the police was definitely the right thing to do, you could have also just driven by a police station. We are actually running a campaign currently to inform people how significant of a social issue road rage is, check out site out if you like. Very impressive that you had the frame of mind to do the necessary steps in order to prevent more danger from occurring. Well done!

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    1. Thank you. I have learned over the years that children take their cues from the adults in any given situation. If the adults are calm, the children tend to stay calm, as well. With an inexperienced driver at the wheel, it was important that I try to keep him on track while also handling the situation. We were not far from the police station, but it didn’t occur to me to head in that direction. My thinking was not as clear as normal! I will definitely check out your site!

      Liked by 1 person

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