The Lunatick’s Ravings

The Road Warrior!

Road rage, it’s been in the news a lot lately.  Why? Because they have decided it is the next hot topic for the news media to swarm on and politicians to cater to them over.  How long has it been a problem?  Since There have been cars.

     OK let’s look at more recently.  Do you remember the little dashboard mounted sound boxes.  They came out in the early to mid 80’s.  They had one to 20 buttons.  What were the buttons, Death ray, machine gun, missile, etc. etc.  They went under various names including  The Revenger, The Road Warrior, and many others.  What they all had in common was the noises and a theme of get even with the people that piss you off while driving.  I think this would definitely be considered “road rage”.

     That was then, now they want to make “road rage” a federal offense, literally.   The usual political catering to the media’s latest feeding frenzy.  Now let’s throw all the fast drivers, red light blowers, and general maniacs in jail.  Yeah right, GET WITH THE PROGRAM PEOPLE!  How are they going to put these people in jail??  Law enforcement! Right.  Um, HELLO, if the cops were out there writing tickets for these offenses in the first place people wouldn’t do them.

     Let’s study human nature.  If people think they can get away with something they will.  I’ve noticed a trend lately, the number of people blowing red lights has increased.   Why? Because they can get away with it.   The last few times they saw someone do it they got away with it, so why not.  Every time I think I blow a light badly, I look in my rearview and count the number of cars that followed me.   It usually exceeds 5.  None of them got tickets, so how are they going to be put in jail? As usual the Politions look to treat the disease by fighting the symptoms and not the cause.

      So what causes “road rage”?  Well I can’t answer for everyone but I can tell you what pisses me off.  BAD DRIVERS.  I’m not talking about the “Road rage” drivers but, the people that don’t know how to drive.  The people that stop in acceleration and merge lanes, because they don’t know how to drive.

      A perfect example of this can be found on campus.  The main and south entrances both have acceleration/merge lanes.  I actually stopped at the beginning of these lanes to see how much speed I could attain at normal acceleration (my tach didn’t go above 4000 rpm when I shifted).  At the south entrance 55mph, the main entrance 70mph, this was from a dead stop.  The speed limit on Rt. 97 is 55 so if you go into the merge lane you should be able to keep going an merge, if you know how to drive.  Yet people still stop and wait for a break in traffic, which causes a back-up and pisses people off, hence “road rage”

     Another thing that pisses me off is the people that do 20 mph in the left lane of a major highway and refuse to get out of the way.  This seems to happen mostly in New York, in the city and the surrounding areas.  You get behind them and flash your lights, the sign of “please move aside and let me pass”.  Their response is to flash you a hand sign not found in the Vehicle and Traffic Laws (the finger).  Either that or hitting their brakes or just ignoring you.  Usually they are paralleling a equally slow driving person in the right lane.  What does this do?   Causes a back up, pissing people off, hence “road rage”.

     Then the ultimate thing that pisses me off.  Poor or outdated traffic control and planning.  What do I mean.  Look at gridlock.   Common in NYC, but on Long Island?????

I see it every day.  The light is green but you can’t go anywhere because there are a string of cars blocking the intersection.  This has nothing to do with heavy traffic, but with poorly timed traffic lights.  So it can take you 20 min to go 1 mile because of 1 fucked up traffic light.  An example of this is on Rt. 347 between Stony Brook Rd. and Rt. 97.  A year ago they installed a traffic light at the medical complex.  Since then traffic has backed up from this light across Rt. 97 during times of heavier traffic.  I used to fly through there, but now it takes 15 min to go about 1.5 mi.  What does this do, cause a back-up piss people off, hence “road rage”. (get the point yet?)

     A lot of people blame aggressive drivers as responsible for road rage.  WRONG!  It's the non aggressive drivers, the wimps.  The ones who sit at a stop sign waiting for the road to be clear, passing up spaces that a Mack truck could turn into, because they don't know how to drive their car.  The people that swing all the way to the left to make a right turn (and vise versa) and don't use their blinker to indicate which direction they are turning.   They also happen to be driving a Ford Escort or some other tiny car not a Mack Truck.  These people are great,  the poor smuck behind them goes to pass and they turn right into them.  Nice accident, but whose at fault, the aggressive driver or the clueless one who doesn't know how to handle their vehicle or the "optional" equipment it came with (blinkers)?

     I could keep going on but lets get to the point.  The cure for road rage is the same as the cure to most other problems, education and intelligent planning, not stiffer penalties for laws that aren’t enforced. I know, I live in a dream world to expect this to happen but remember these are only the ravings of The Lunatick.

 

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Copyright 1998 The Lunatick