Road rage is on the rampage – at least that’s what it seems like to me. It has always existed, of course, from shortly after the wheel was invented. I’m sure there were instances when a Centurion yelled nasty things and gave the finger at the Centurion in the chariot cutting him off. But, I think you would agree, these days our newspapers are reporting almost daily an ever increasing number of instances when drivers engage others with virulent exchanges of expletives and, in some cases, even physical violence over slight differences in driving etiquette.
What can be done about that? Very little - apparently. Rarely is there a gendarme in hailing distance; "in the moment", as they say. I would think it might be more productive to look for an underlying cause which, if eliminated, would reduce such stupid behavior.
I think I may have found such a cause. This epiphany occurred while I was stopped as the first car waiting for the light to change at a street corner. Facing me on the other side of the street crossing in front of me were two lanes of cars also waiting. As I looked at them I felt the hairs on the back of my neck begin to rise. Then my lips peeled back in a beginning snarl. Like a dog ready to defend his lair, I was preparing for attack. Why was this happening? I pulled myself together and suddenly had the distinct feeling my car was radiating fear. The light turned green; I moved forward slowly and with trepidation and the first two cars came toward me.
This what I saw:
At their rear came two others:
What was it with these cars? Why did they look so angry at me? Were they attacking? Sneering and glaring at me and my trembling car as they slid by us with slit eyes and lowered brows. My initial reaction was the normal one implanted in one’s brain – fight or flee. But then I saw that their drivers were just normal and apparently calm people – a housewife with a kid in the back, a businessman, a teenager talking on her cell phone.
And then I realized that the occupants were not the threatening element – it was the cars themselves!
It’s my belief that the car manufacturers are producing cars that are making us mad. These latest designs are getting meaner and meaner; and watching them – one after the other – coming down the highway is feeding our anger. You may start the day a little grumpy but constant exposure to these horrible visions can bring us to the point of detonation.
The ones I’ve shown are a Hyundai, Buick, Jaguar and Lexus. As you see they are both foreign and domestic so there doesn’t appear to be any universal hidden attempt to terrorize us. I won’t identify them individually to avoid being sued by some mega-bucks manufacturer. Is there hope for relief? There may be.
Just the other day I saw a Porsche coming toward me and couldn't help but smile. Maybe a little loopy but a bucktoothed smile is easier to take.
For more on road range you might be interested in the story "The .38 Caliber" in the Papa Logan series.