Hump Day: Are we all living lives of quietly desperate road rage?

Hump DayHump Day 2 cropped
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Moncton Times & Transcript

I hope I’m not the only one reading this who gets all his frustrations out while I’m driving by myself in the car. If I am, well then that would mean I’m just a weirdo. Stop applauding and nodding your heads in agreement, please. I have feelings, too, you know.

If you ever see me drive by and I’m talking to someone, check the passenger seat. It’s usually empty. Which means, of course, that I’m partaking in my usual habit of talking to myself in the car. It may sound silly – and I’m sure it does – but it’s a way to get some frustrations out and perhaps be a bit blunter with (imaginary) people than I should be, even if they’re not there to hear it. Just because we want to say it, doesn’t mean we should.

I’ll just talk away like a madman either to vent frustrations, practice a few difficult conservations which need to take place, or just blurt out garbage my mouth wants to say but my head tells it not to, at least in mixed company. If my vehicle ever got bugged at some point, I’d have to move to a deserted island somewhere and take up basket weaving.

road rage

I usually save my worst venom for bad drivers. Oh, the terrible things I’ve said! Just awful. Of course, I’d never say it to them in person, but it’s a good way to get frustration out. I tend to do it rather discreetly, though, after I got caught by a lip-reading trucker a few years ago who stole my parking spot. True story! “Did you just call me an (insert bad name here)?” Nope. Not me. Move along. Thank you for not stabbing me and burying my body in a shallow grave! I tend to whisper stuff since then.

I’ve seen those road-rage videos online and they’re quite terrifying. If those drivers would just learn my technique and get their frustrations out verbally when no one is around, it would be so much better – and they wouldn’t end up on YouTube after someone inevitably records one of their tantrum for all the world to see.

You have to be careful with this technique, though. The other day, I went for coffee with my mother and two aunts when I saw a driver take a bit of an odd shortcut through parking lot and park next to me. Well, of course I launched into my own whispering tirade in the car about how the driver should pretty much be put on the rack, tortured and shot in public with their entire family as witnesses. Yup, that would teach them a lesson!

The car parked next to me and I looked over to see who the offending driver was. Surely, they were some sort of monster. “Oh, hi Mom.” I hope she hasn’t learned how to read lips – and thankfully I chose not to use the middle-finger salute which many drivers use too often. I may lose my cool and do that once per year after a particularly dangerous manoeuvre by another driver puts me at risk, but it’s fairly rare. And to be fair, I’ve had it done to me a few times after I’ve been inattentive and made a driving mistake. Stop sign? What stop sign?

The fact is, every driver makes mistakes. Some are too polite (yes, that’s a mistake!) and give the right of way to drivers who don’t have it, putting other drivers in danger. Others drive down city streets at breakneck speeds. I swear, I could set up seating and sell NASCAR tickets in my front yard to watch the cars speed by my house sometimes. It’s a tragedy just waiting to happen, especially with a park right across the street and lots of kids around. I dread the day I hear squealing brakes from inside the house and the subsequent unmistakable noise of an accident.

But pedestrians are often no better. I see so many people just walk across busy streets without even looking both ways. Others just barge right across a crosswalk without even stopping to look to ensure that they’ve been seen. And others think bicycle lanes are for baby carriages or running. Sorry, runners! You’re supposed to stick to the sidewalk, not run down bicycle lanes in the opposite direction of traffic – no matter what you’ve been told – at least in Moncton.

So yeah, a few pedestrians and runners have been the targets of my only-heard-by-me rants, too. I just hope none of them can read lips – or end up being my mother!

One Response to Hump Day: Are we all living lives of quietly desperate road rage?

  1. Your blog on road rage and an unqualified closing rage on pedestrians and runners, to me, is unjustified. I’m a pedestrian, runner, cyclist and motorist. I too am a frustrated driver, not because of bad drivers, but by what I find is bad traffic engineering I’m going to park this subject for the time being.

    The reason that I am replying is because your final paragraph sums up road rage by dumping on pedestrians and runners. I walk, run and cycle for fitness and fun. I try to do these activities in the safest manner possible, by running in low traffic neighborhoods. Even though, I still spend some transit time on arterial roadways, Mtn Rd, St George St, etc. and yes, I run on the roadside when possible, for a number of reasons. In winter, the sidewalks are not properly cleared, an unresolved engineering issue. As we move through spring, there are still huge puddles/ice on many sidewalks. Consider that a run typically lasts 45-90 minutes and covers anywhere from 5 to 10+k, the winter-spring sidewalks are just not reliable.

    What about summer and fall, I can hear you asking from the drivers seat of your otherwise empty car? Sidewalks are broken, heaved slabs of concrete. They bump up and down for every street corner and driveway where they canter about 15 degrees from horizontal, treacherously if they are wet, dusty or during the spring and fall frost/ice period. Sidewalks are designed to accommodate cars and secondly, an engineering cya. They are by no means a good or safe running or walking choice.

    By far, pedestrians, runners, cyclists, boarders, strollers etc, are part of the solution to road rage and therefore should treated with the utmost courtesy and safety.