Saturday, February 28, 2009


I've been driving since the age of 10 and have held a driver's license for well over 40 years. I've driven throughout much of the western United States, through the south and up the east coast as far as Massachusetts. I once drove all over southern England and through parts of the continent. I several times drove into Mexico as far south as Mexico City. I've also driven all over the Panama Canal Zone.

In the over 30 years I've been in Western Australia I've driven literally hundreds of thousands of kilometres and have yet to lose a demerit point – stopped twice for speeding but unticketed. Despite my best efforts I was involved in one traffic accident, however: many years aso a fully loaded double-deck cattle truck collected me from behind while I was stopped for a red light – the truck was barely rolling but there's was nowhere for me to go. I admit that I ALWAYS speed, at least a little, but I am without doubt a safe driver.

So, why am I telling you this? Road rage, that's why. Earlier today I drove into the big city. As I drove into a built-up area I got stuck behind a sightseeing rubber-necker – there were lots of big gawkable houses. The guy was going about 45 km/h in a 60 zone on a very wide street – there was plenty of room for cars to park on both sides of the road without impeding traffic but there were no cars parked on either side. An alert driver would have noticed the cars piling up behind him and pulled over to let us by but this guy just kept slowly cruising along in the centre of his lane. I went to overtake at the earliest opportunity. Naturally, the rubber-necker speeded up. No problem; I floored it, clearing oncoming traffic by a wide margin.

As I'm returning to my lane I notice an oncoming car flashing its light and suddenly there's a guy hanging out the window screaming and shaking his fist at me. In my mirror I watched the guy hit his brakes and attempt to turn around to come after me, in the process almost causing an accident. Traffic flow prevented him pulling it off.

I consider myself very lucky: if the guy had one to hand I probably would have eaten a beer bottle as he went past. If he had turned around and followed me I could easily have been involved in a car chase and there's no telling how that might have ended. Is it just me or is this sort of thing becoming a "normal" part of driving?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not uncommon at all. I was taking the children to school a few years back and a youngish lad screamed into our lane from a street on the left nearly taking us out. I flicked lights and let him know what I thought. He slowed down and waited for us to arrive on his left at the next lights. He wound his passenger window down and let fly. He was clearly under some ifluence of something like ice and was manic. I'm a big guy and he wasn't so big, but if he had a gun or something dangerous with him, I feel the situation could have deteriorated to dangerous levels. He was right off the planet. I wondered later what would have happened if there had been a few of them.

A not dissimilar situation occurred again not so long ago and again I believe it was a drug induced mania that could have got out of control. Mehaul.

3:20 PM  

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