Friday, April 17, 2009
I return from North Carolina and headed off to a day at Disneyland with the family yesterday in the late afternoon. You always see on TV and sometimes on the side of the road people fighting with road rage and getting into it. I never thought I'd be part of an incident but yesterday...I was.
We pulled out of our neighborhood street onto a two lane road that goes downhill. We turned into traffic with plenty of time to get into the lane. A Saab convertible was rolling down the hill very fast....when I turned into the lane I compensated for his distance from us but couldn't account for his speeding. Both lanes were open and I stayed in the right lane. The Saab came up on us pretty quick...but by the time he was behind us we were going 45 mph...the speed limit.
The Saab then started tailgating us and swerving violently behind us on purpose. He then pulled into the left lane and started screaming and flipping us off, all the while honking his horn. I had Kara and the boys in the family minivan, and Kara waved to the guy hoping he would realize we didn't mean anything...no bad feelings.
The Saab then pulled in front of us and started "German Braking" the practice of slamming on your brakes trying make the person behind you crash or have to veer quickly to the left or right. I just slowed down at his pace of braking...and then this guy stopped his car dead in front of us. He then proceeded to start to get out of his car. Kara then quickly looked at me and said, "You aren't going to get out are you?" I replied, "Are you kidding? Do you think I'm going to fight some idiot throwing a temper tantrum with my family in the car?"
As Mr. TT (Temper Tantrum) a man in his mid 40's, approached us I put our van in reverse and started to back up....Mr. TT started following us on foot. As soon as I head enough room between him and his car to avoid hitting both I put the minivan in forward and hit the gas. At this point he was at my window screaming violently...and as soon as he realized that I wasn't going to engage him he punched the window as hard as he could. As we sped away he kicked the car leaving a significant mark on the side that we found later when we inspected the car at a gas station. As we drove away I saw Mr. TT screaming in the middle of the road flipping us off and yelling.
A few thoughts on the experience: I would be humiliated to attack a family and a car full of children just because I had no control over my anger. I doubt he will feel that kind of emotion...but he wasn't a man, he was a child. Anyone that knows me knows that I'm not bashful, and given the need I would have no problem defending myself or my family. But this wasn't defense, it was sheer lunacy. The best way to defend you and yourself is by taking the most expedient way to ensure your safety....99% of the time using your fists or other weapons isn't the way to ensure your safety...in fact, it's the best way to ensure your danger.
Road rage is a clear sign that you have no control over your emotions, and you are just choosing to unleash your fury on a stranger. Keep yourself safe and don't become a news item...stay in your car and leave the situation..never make it worse. We live in a very nice neighborhood, and Mr. TT drove a very nice car...so road rage isn't about how much money you have or where you live....in my opinion it just means you still haven't finished that last leg of puberty. Have a great weekend.
Note: This is not a picture of Mr. TT, just stock footage...but he did kind of look like this...maybe it's the same guy!