R = Road Rage

I like to think that I’m normally a reasonably calm and patient person.  I’ll take a lot crap before I blow my cool, but I confess that I’m one of those drivers who is very easily irritated by what I witness happening on the roads.  When I get behind the wheel of a car, my tolerance level for stupid, mean-spirited, and inconsiderate drivers drops to zero.  I wish I had a super-power to generously exact retribution where necessary.

a-z

I know that Toronto isn’t the only place in the world where there are bad drivers, aggressive behaviour or outright civil disobedience on the roadways – and where there are too many cars and not enough drivers exercising courtesy and common sense, things will get tense.

With road maintenance season ramping up – combined with scores of cyclists now hitting the roads – all forms of road rage are about to get much worse.

This is my wish list of behaviour changes I’d like to see out on our roads:

1) leave the aggressive driving to gaming and movies.  Excessive speeds, weaving in and out of traffic, aggressive tail-gating, running red lights and using ramps, shoulders and centre lanes to get ahead in slow traffic are all behaviours that are reckless and stupid.

road sign

You are not the centre of the universe.  No one is deliberately trying to make you late for work, miss your appointment, or mash your mellow.  Aggressive driving might get you to where you are going 5 minutes faster, but it is an accident waiting to happen – yes, even to you.

The delays and traffic backlog caused by road construction are frustrating and on a bad day, can make me want to cry, but the aggressive and self-absorbed behaviour exhibited by some motorists in these trying conditions makes my blood boil.  I’m also pretty sure these are the same people who cause accidents that – you guessed it – cause more delays and traffic backlogs.

2) I think we all agree that alcohol and driving don’t go together.  It is both illegal and socially unacceptable.

So should all forms of distracted driving.  If it is not illegal where you live, to talk on the phone without a hands-free device, or text while driving, then it should be.  Distracted drivers -at best – are annoying as they weave erradically in their lane, or drive excessively slow – often in the passing lane.  At worst, distracted driving gets people killed.

road safety

To the woman who cut me off last week making a sudden U-turn while she chatted on the phone – shame on you!

 

 

3) cyclists are probably moving a lot faster than you think they are.  Don’t try to race them to the intersection or driveway where you need to make that turn.  Be aware that a cyclist having to make a sudden stop becomes a human projectile. The end result is never pretty and will be traumatic for everyone involved.

Two years ago on a country road, Husband suffered 9 broken ribs, 5 cracked spinal crests, a cracked shoulder blade and a bruised kidney when a driver cut him off to make a right hand turn.  Husband was travelling at 33 km / hour.  That might not seem fast to you secure in your car surrounded by a ton of metal, but on a road bike with thin racing tires – it is.

4) give cyclists a wide berth.  The faster you are moving and the bigger your vehicle, the greater the space you need to leave between you and the cyclist as you overtake them.   If there is oncoming traffic and you can’t move over safely, please slow down!

share the road

The draft you create as you pass a cyclist can make their bike unstable.  Some dim-bulbs think it’s funny to buzz close to cyclists as they speed by to watch the reaction as the cyclist fights to keep control of their bike.  I’m not making this up.

It is NOT funny.  Yes – I know there are some bad, inconsiderate cyclists on the road. That is never an excuse for dangerous behaviour.

 

 

5) This summer, my oldest son and 2 of his friends will be participating in the 6 day / 600 km Friends For Life Bike Rally from Toronto to Montreal in support of the Toronto Aids Foundation.  That means I now have 3 more people I care deeply about who are on the roads cycling.

My worry-bucket is overflowing.  I’ve already used up a lot of heart beats in this life and no one should ever have to get one of ‘those’ phone calls.

Be respectful to everyone else out there on the road – whether you think they deserve your courtesy or not.  Their lives – and yours – might depend on it.

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

 

 

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge - 2014, Attitude, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to R = Road Rage

  1. Kathe W. says:

    excellent post!

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  2. I’m totally with you on aggressive drivers Joanne. We spend a fair amount of time on the road and see lots of it. The sad fact about most aggressive drivers is that when they drive like idiots, usually they’re endangering other drivers far more than themselves. And I must admit that usually my first thought is: “Look buddy, I’m not overly concerned if your stupid driving kills you, but why take the rest of us with you.” ~James

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  3. Totally agree! I even watch cars regularly cut in front of my GO bus – what are they thinking?! Don’t they know those of us riding the bus mean less cars on the road? The problem is trying to apply rational thought to this.

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  4. People seem to be crazy the world over! I don’t drive-it’s something that I never got around to learning and for all the reasons you listed above, I’m glad I don’t! Motorway driving here is the worst and if I have to be in a car on one (especially with the kids) then I insist they stay in the slow lane and take easy all the way. I’d rather we took longer to get there and stay safe than risk it with the ‘crazies’ who race and lane skip for the fun of it xx

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    • joannesisco says:

      Nothing makes me happier than a road trip with an open road ahead of me. No traffic to stress me out and I can cruise along in my happy zone.
      It doesn’t happen very often 😦

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  5. bulldog says:

    Your list would work here as well… the idiots that are on the road is beyond belief… as for the speeding, lane changing and the rest.. I wonder if one actually gets to your destination any faster than one would if you practiced courtesy driving.??..

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    • joannesisco says:

      It sounds like the lack of common sense behind the wheel of a car is a characteristic of the entire human species. If you believe in Darwinism then it doesn’t bode well for our future survival 🙂

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  6. sinewavelife says:

    Fantastic post! My commute is blissfully short but I see a disproportionately high amount of total stupidity on the road. Most of it is due to the cell phone. Grrrr.

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  7. Well you got on your soapbox today, Joanne, and good for you! How many people are deliberately aggressive drivers and how many are just terrible and unaware drivers? As for the woman talking on her phone while doing a u-turn? “Shame on you” aren’t the words that would have come out of my mouth!

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  8. Oh Joanne, well said. And I do feel for you with your three men in the race. I’d be a wreck worrying about them, too.
    We were up to Belfountain and Glen Williams on the weekend. Cyclists were everywhere. So were motorcyclists with the horrid whining and roaring engines. And of course, the motorists who had to pass on blind curves and crests of hills. It makes me crazy. Like you, when I am in a car and someone pulls stunts like these, I want immediate and complete retribution for the boneheaded moves these people pull! More than once I pulled out my invisible ray gun to fry their peabrains! If they are going to play Gran Turismo on the highway, I will need to vent some way!

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  9. nancytex2013 says:

    Perfectly said Joanne. I have nothing to add but a standing ovation and a slow clap.

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  10. M-R says:

    Bloody EXCELLENT post, Joanne ! We have the same problems (only on the other side of the road), of course; and even though it IS illegal in Oz to use your phone while driving – and they’re thinking about the same for hands-free, as it’s scientifically proven to be just as distracting – people keep doing it. We have a bigger problem with cyclists in Sydney, as they are, by and large, just as bad to pedestrians as drivers are to them; and even though our Lord Mayor has created cycleways all over the place, to the detriment of drivers (the roads really aren’t wide enough), they still ride on the roads aggressively. Here I am talking either couriers, or commuters in peak hours – never the casual cyclist. I can well understand your anxiety.

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  11. sueslaght says:

    Joanne your husband’s accident sounds horrific. I am hopeful he made a complete recovery. Here’s to cyclists being respected as much in Canada as they are in Europe.

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    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Sue – he did make a full recovery, but I’m not sure I did, or ever will 😦
      Europeans are definitely more respectful of cyclists. North Americans consider them an affront. Admittedly I’ve seen more than a few cyclists who needed a good shake to smarten them up but it’s still no excuse ….

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      • sueslaght says:

        Yes there are some cyclists that do nothing to help the cause of the sport that’s for sure.
        I suppose Europeans are generally more used to having cyclists around because so many of them are on bikes all the time. But I would say even in Turkey where there are not a lot of cyclists we really were treated very well by the other traffic which often included tractors, motorbikes, mules…I digress.
        So glad your husband is all right but I can totally appreciate the emotional trauma.

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  12. It’s amazing what some people will do behind the wheel other than drive. Put on makeup, shave (although possibly not both), take notes, eat and take selfies. Takes multitasking to a whole new and dangerous level.

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