Rude driving, aggressive driving and road-rage driving

Eeeoooeeeooo! Sitting at a red light, I observed other drivers getting out of the way as an ambulance approached. Except for one guy in the right lane pulling a lawnmower trailer. He wouldn’t budge, so the gal in the middle lane pulled up, over and around another car in the far left lane, so the emergency vehicle could pass. “What is wrong with you?” I shouted. Of course, the drivers couldn’t hear me. Three lanes, but the middle car was the one to move over.

And the thing that I allow to irritate me is a slowpoke in the left lane. Argh. I wonder if these drivers are ignorant of traffic laws or just rude people.

When there’s an accident on the road and traffic is detoured, I allow others in front of me. We learned in kindergarten that you take turns. But, some drivers do not and they pretend they don’t even see you.

I often wonder if these people act rude even when they’re not driving. Or maybe the person is having a bad day and not paying attention.

“Watch out!” I shouted as the motorcycle in front of me whizzed into the left lane. Of course, he couldn’t hear me, but it was my instant reaction. He glanced around, and I saw the look of terror on his face as the Ford truck with tinted windows barely missed him. No helmet and short-sleeved shirt. His skin would have been mincemeat. The Grim Reaper passed on by. “What are you doing?” I shrieked as the truck tailgated the motorcycle. No driver likes to be cut off in traffic, but why risk another accident?

But aggressive driving and road rage are taking it to another level. According to the DMV website, “Road rage is defined as aggressive or violent behavior stemming from a driver’s uncontrolled anger at the actions of another motorist.” Tailgating, cutting others off, not using turn signals, cursing other drivers, speeding, honking, flashing your headlights, and brake checking are aggressive driving behaviors.

“Road rage is more extreme; it involves physically harming a person or his/her vehicle — running a driver off the road, ramming his/her car from behind, getting into a fight with another driver, or using a weapon to cause harm,” according to a 2018 article on the Psychology Today website.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, road rage was linked to 467 crashes in 2015 on USA highways. And it appears the number of road rage incidents that involve firearms is on the rise, according to The Trace, a nonprofit news organization focused on gun violence.

A 2016 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that around 80 percent of drivers had expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage at least once. And 51 percent reported tailgating on purpose with 12 percent reporting cutting off another vehicle deliberately. Whoa!

Our job is to get from point A to point B safely. It’s not realistic to expect all drivers to be courteous. And mind reading why others act the way they do is illogical. Manage your own emotions. Don’t make obscene gestures to other drivers. Avoid the urge to engage in any exchange with hostile drivers.

The National Highway Transportation and Safety Agency recommends the following: When a motorist is a threat, call 911 and ask your passenger to note the license plate. Avoid eye contact. Get out of the way of an aggressive or raging driver.

George Carlin, a comedian, surmised, “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”