I’m going to level with all of you: my verbal road rage is genetic, and I can prove it. There is a story in my family that has become legend: My brother was a baby and sat in his high chair, holding an imaginary steering wheel, pretending to drive. When my parents prompted him, “Evan, what does the car say?” the then 2-year-old replied, without missing a beat, “Beep beep! Get out of the way, asshole!”
I should clarify that my family is made up of relatively peaceful, civil human beings. Growing up people always remarked about how polite the children were and how sweet we all seemed. But when you put one of us behind the wheel of a car, the things that rip out of our mouths would make you want to marathon Dora The Explorer and hug someone’s puppy just to scrub out the mental horror. Some of the things I have said behind the wheel of a car are so graphic and horrible that I'm too ashamed to even write them.
You know what, though? I am an advocate of yelling horrible things at strangers in cars. It is a lot better than the alternatives, which include expressing your feelings actually using your car, or going up to people in public and candidly saying things like, "Nice turn signal, dickwad." So I'm going to continue with my barrage of closed window trash-talking, for as long as it takes for these things to stop happening on the road:
People Who Don't Use Turn Signals
I am the patron saint of turn signal users. If you signal to me, I will go out of my way, hell or high water, to let you into my lane. If you cut me off with no warning, I will hate you forever.
Drivers Who Skip Ahead Of Traffic
You know the type: the drivers who "invent" lanes, or drive up on the side on a closed lane or the shoulder. They might as well open their windows and scream "I'M MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU" at every law-abiding driver they pass.
People Who Treat Parking Lots Like Video Games
I am so, so cautious in parking lots, because I see stupid parents letting toddlers run loose and stupid people on cell phones wandering all over the place and stupid drivers backing out and speeding through like they are the only car in existence, which basically makes for the perfect stupidity storm. I hate when I back out so cautiously and slowly and then some jackass in the car across from me bolts out without looking and only doesn't hit me because I have the reflexes of a neurotic mess, which, by the way, I am, mostly thanks to parking lots.
People Who Tailgate In The Right Lane
When you're in the right lane with me, you play by my rules. If you don't want to go the speed limit then get lost, you self-righteous bozo. (Can someone please give me props for not typing the really nasty thing I was actually thinking?)
People Who Tailgate In The Left Lane When You Are Also Stuck There
Drivers who do this are like babies crying because they don't yet understand that they sometimes have to wait another thirty seconds for food. And that's fine, because babies are adorable and don't know any better. But these drivers do. And in those rare instances that you are boxed in on both sides in the left lane with someone astronomically slow in front of you and some jackass is on your tail as if this is somehow your fault, it drives me up the damn wall.
People Who Don't Stop For Pedestrians
I guess this is more "pedestrian" rage than road rage, but both as a person who walks a lot of places and a person who is very careful to respect pedestrians when I'm driving, it's incredibly frustrating to see people blow through crosswalks.
People Who Honk At Pedestrians In Crosswalks
The one time someone did this to me as a pedestrian, I had just come off a 9-hour shift working with infants in a room where we had a five-to-one teacher ratio, and I might have stood in the middle of the intersection, pointed at my walk signal and screamed more than a few unsavory things at a very shocked middle-aged woman who probably never honked at a pedestrian again. Alternately, this is annoying when you're the one driving and people are honking at you as you wait for someone to go by. Should I run over that old man for the sake of your convenience? Well, OK, if you say so.
People Who Are Pushy In Bad Weather
That's cute that you have no regard for your own life, but what about the rest of us?
People Who Honk One Second After The Light Has Changed
Dude. Chill out. Just because I didn't slam on the accelerator like my name's Jeff Gordon doesn't mean I didn't see green light.
People Who Text And Drive
You know what's horrible about this? We know better. We all know better. It is senseless and selfish and horrible, and yet people who text and drive seem to think that they are somehow above the rules, somehow "better" at texting and driving than other people. More often than not, when I pass somebody texting on the road (ALWAYS easy to spot, because you're swerving even when you think you're not, you dipshits), it's an adult. How do we expect the kids who are learning to drive now to do any better with this when they're growing up watching their parents do it?
Bicyclists Who Don't "Share The Road"
I have the utmost respect for bicyclists who ride on roadways, because that's scary as hell. I am vigilant and will always go out of my way for you, guys. But when you start doing that thing at intersections when you skip ahead all of us by sneaking between cars, or worse, blow a red light just because you can, that respect turns into irritation. If we're all sharing the road, we should all play by the rules. If the fact that you're annoying everyone around you doesn't sway you, please consider your safety.
People Who Speed Up When You Put On Your Turn Signal
There is a special place in hell for these drivers. 99% of the time it will not inconvenience them in any way, but somehow they just can't let the other person in front.
People Who Genuinely Have Road Rage
I may say I have "road rage," and I may have occasionally fantasized about cutting the brakes unexpectedly just to mess with tailgaters, but I've never actively used my vehicle to intimidate other human beings. That is messed up on so many levels.
Images: AMC; Giphy(13)