I Don't Want To Pass My Road Rage On To My Children
I' m a 37 year old male. I'm an airline pilot, a career I'm proud of. I'm a "go along to get along" person, except behind the wheel of a car it seems. If you've never seen it, Google "Disney’s Mr. Wheeler". I wouldn't hurt anyone unless threatened.
I've had a number of road rage incidents over my driving life. I'm not proud of any of them and I've gotten one ticket (and numerous cases of heartburn) over them. My Dad has road rage and so do my siblings. It's obviously learned behavior.
When I drive, I focus on driving. That's it. I'll converse, listen to music, etc., but my main concentration is on driving. Nothing is more important than keeping the car on the road and under control. Thinking ahead of the car and the traffic, situational awareness if you will. I try to keep safe following distances and I drive defensively. Well, perhaps a bit too defensively.
The problem is, especially now, is that few people seem to care about driving. People follow too close with their nose buried in their mobile device. They only look at the car in front and only react when the other driver does.
My story for coming here happened this morning. I was taking my kids to daycare on this curvy heavily traveled road. Behind me is this BMW SUV being driven too fast and rather sloppily (wandering in the lane, like so many people do when they're distracted) for the traffic he's coming up on. Traffic is slowing ahead of me, so I begin braking. This guy does too, but he keeps getting closer. Traffic slows more abruptly ahead of me, so I begin to brake a bit harder. So does this guy, but now he's even closer.
Well, now my road rage kicks in. Traffic is still slowing, but I decide to slow quickly. Not stop and not jam on the brakes, but just enough "to show this guy" he's not paying attention. I hear his tires chirp as he brakes abruptly. I see angry gesturing, so I flip him the bird. Traffic has cleared, so I accelerate away.
This guy is now behind me, with his mobile device, taking a video. I pull into my kid’s daycare and he doesn't follow. Not initially. I'm getting my kids out of the car and he shows up, still filming.
I start screaming at him "What is your problem, asshole?" This is something my kids have never seen (only 4 years old, twin boys). He won't stop or open the window until he damn near hits me.
He finally stops. Still recording, I start screaming at him again "What is your problem".
"My problem, he says, is that you slowed down too quickly for traffic and then flipped me the bird. Hey look kids, your Daddy flips everyone the bird!"
Enraged, I throw the wadded up baby wipe in my hand into his car. As he drives away he's like "Oh I got it all on camera, I've got DNA evidence (the baby wipe)." My boys don't know what to think. "Daddy, did that guy almost hit the car?" Yes, he did, but they didn't see me flip him the bird and piss him off.
Now, he has nothing on camera except him chasing me down for stopping suddenly (which he doesn't have on camera) nor does he have me flipping him the bird on camera. He does have the confrontation on camera, but all I did was yell and throw a baby wipe at him.
I have nothing to be concerned with really, but I've gotten burned in this situation before when I was younger (and before video cameras were everywhere). Someone driving a BMW is usually a professional of some sort or might know someone. This will cause me to worry until nothing happens.
That part doesn't bother me as much as that my kids witnessed it. My kids, whom I love dearly and I don't want to have this issue, have seen this. I've also endangered my kids’ lives and my own. That guy could have had a gun instead of a mobile device and shot me in front of my kids. In the daycare parking lot.
I could be dead now and for what? Because I didn't like someone’s driving? Because I could see their bad driving and decided to "fix it"?
My problem is that I know these things. I know better, but it doesn't stop me. Why doesn't it stop me? This page has been helpful, I just have to find a way to remove road rage from my life. Good luck to you in your battle with this problem. Thanks for reading.