Road Rage

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Road Rage

Post  Dave on Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:56 pm

On Tuesday at around 3 pm I was driving home along the motorway after finishing my shift at work. As I've been in the 3rd lane approaching the motorway exit. I noticed a new Mercedes in lane one undertaking traffic in lanes 2 and 3. The driver was weaving his way through traffic at about 80-90 miles an hour, only to then suddenly pull back into lane one and brake heavily behind a lorry. My immediate thoughts where 'what a wa&@!r' I started moving from lane 3 into lane 1 ahead of the lorry. I have then turned off onto the slip road towards my exit. As I've approached the traffic lights at the end of the slip road they changed to red and the vehicle in front of me stopped, so obviously I've stopped behind it.

Checking my rearview mirror I could see the Mercedes driving at speed towards me. I've honestly thought that the Mercedes was going to hit my car. At the last moment the driver has seen my car braked and swerved into the other lane on the slip road narrowly missing my car. As he has driven past I noticed that the driver had a mobile phone in his hand. I've mouthed the words 'Dickhead' or 'Knobhead' or some other term of endearment towards him. The car has then stopped a short distance ahead in the lane next to mine. As the lights have turned to green I've been driving forward, the Mercedes didnt move, as I've driven next to it the driver had his passenger window down and was leaning across the seat looking at me . I've stopped, thinking that he obviously wanted to talk to me. As I've wound the window down the driver has angrily asked what I had said. I told him that I had called him a 'knobhead' due to the fact that he had been driving like a 'knobhead' and nearly crashed into my car. This surprisingly was not met with a nod of agreement, but with an angry / agitated and swearing, hoody wearing 30 something shit bag who started to emphasise his accent to try and intimidate me. I have rightly or wrongly started raising my voice and have used some choice language of my own to show that I would not be intimidated by a gobshite such as this chap.

The argument has ended with this driver looking at me and saying 'and what are you going to do?' Now to me that is a stupid question because I had no intention to do anything other than let the driver know that he was shit driiver and drove in a shit fashion. So my reply was 'Grow up and learn to drive, knobhead' This enraged the driver even more so, he shouted 'Pull up around the corner!' With that he has driven right across the front of my car, slammed on his brakes, and then screeched the wheels as he has sped off onto the roundabout.

My turn off from the roundabout was the first left, You can't pull up around the corner as there is no where to pull up in. As I've driven onto the roundabout I've seen the Mercedes parked side on partially blocking the road I wanted the drivers door was open but the driver was still in the car. Ive driven past, and through my passenger window I've called the driver a 'Dickhead' and told him again to 'grow up'. I've managed to drive my car onto the partially blocked road. This road is a single carriageway with oncoming traffic in the opposite lane and a national speed limit (60mph). The Mercedes appears up the back of my car, at no time have I been driving fast. The Mercedes drives into the opposite lane pulls alongside my car and the driver starts giving me the same kind of abuse, I give him some back and then mimic his ranting by moving my hand like a hand puppet talking. This results in the driver going into a proper rage, over taking me and stopping diagonally across my lane blocking my path. Its at this point that I realise that I've got no where to go, so I can either stay in my car or get out and confront the driver if he approaches me.

No choice really, I dont have to get involved in any physical confrontation at this stage, I still have the option of avoidance (as in the words of Geoff Thompson a 3,000lb car makes a good 'fence'. And violence can and does change lives ie Hospital, Prison etc) For reasons of which I am unaware the driver of the Mercedes didnt get out of his car, bottle drop, looking for a weapon I really dont know why, it could be one of a million reasons. Suddenly in the oncoming lane I see a Police traffic car, and so does my friend in the Mercedes, Mercedes drives off. I decide that the Police must have seen some of the Mercedes drivers terrible driving, so I decide to flag the Police down. As I'm driving slowly I put my arm out of my window and wave to the approaching Police car. The Police car drives straight past me? (no lights or sirens so it wasnt going on an emergency run) Disgusted with the Police officer who ignored me, I see the Mercedes about 200m in the distance he stops side ways across the road blocking it, at this point I decide that I have done enough to avoid the situation and as I didnt want the driver to follow me to my home area. I would drive up and if necessary I would get out my car and get involved in a physical altercation with the driver (I dont like to use the word 'fight' as it often conjures up the like of a school yard punch up, when actaully it can, as mentioned earlier, be a life changing experience.)

Preparing for this I have unfastened my seatbelt as I've driven on. The Mercedes has then completed a 3 point turn and driven up to me and stopped in the opposite lane. I've stopped the driver has made some comment about me 'running to the cops' strange I thought this is what normal law abiding individuals did when dealing with shit like this chap. Again I've made a witty repast along the lines of 'Fuck off knobhead and learn to drive' bet he didnt see that one coming Wink

I've then driven on towards my home whilst the 'Stig' has gone back towards the round about. No more than 30 seconds later I passed my wife and daughter as they have been driving to the cemetary to visit my father in laws grave as its coming up to the anniversary of his death. I've waved out of the car window as I've passed them. They have returned my wave as they continued on their journey blissfully unaware of the road rage incident.

Over the past two days I replayed the incident dozens of times in my head. Besides the name calling and swearing on my behalf, eventhough I think I had the right to let the driver know about his appalling driiving. I know I made all the right decisions regarding self protection and the 'avoidance' principal, I was angry but in control. I stayed in the car, I didnt stop my journey or drive stupidly, I tried to attract the attention of a passing police patrol. I think on the law side of things if it did become violent I could show that I did a lot to avoid the situation. My home life is not affected due to me being arrested, hospitalized or killed and or losing my job, which I would, if found guilty of any kind of violence.

The only thing that nags at me is my ego, I know its no big deal, but for a day and a half my Ego was screaming out that I should have gotten out of my car and smashed the guy, at the end of the day its probably down to the amount of time and effort I put into training the Hard Skills.

I can honestly say that this has been an incident where the Soft skills were definitley the right choice.
PS I am a little annoyed that I only got part of his registration Embarassed
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Dave

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Re: Road Rage

Post  Nick Hughes on Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:25 pm

Dave,

I've been in exactly the same situation mate. I've followed my own advice and walked away because I would have been fighting 'cause I WANTED to and not because I HAD to. You're right, your ego screams at you for vindication but I've also had to deal with assault charges before when satisfying my ego and wanting to teach someone a lesson. Prison's are full of people who are in there because their ego put them in there.

The question you have to ask yourself is, if you had battered him, and were now in prison through Christmas would you be happier than you are now because your ego was satisfied?

Another thing that helps me is thinking about SF units. They don't get in scraps when they see the enemy, they lay a little lower and wait till they walk past doing everything in their power to avoid getting in a gun fight. They're perfectly happy avoiding trouble and if it works for them, it should work for you.

Nick

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Re: Road Rage

Post  Wayne Harrison on Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:40 pm

you acted properly Dave. I agree with Nick, the ego can make folks 'ready' to go physical. Most would be the same. The primary thing of course, as we both know is safety. Your safety. It is such an unknown situation. Road-rage people are by definition displaying anger that isn't appropriate. It isn't their fucking road. I'm not gonna go into psycho-babble, cos i'm not qualified. I'd like to repeat something i know we all know. In such a situation to get out of the car places one at serious risk. It could be an irate coporate executive, or a caeer criminal, drug dealer, whatever. It's a big lottery. Sometimes i imagine what it would be like if i got out of a car in such a situation, and the guy pulled a machete, or a gun. Or if i would tend to be ready to get out of the car, and there to be multiples in their car. Maybe in the heat of the moment i wouldn't see this. Perhaps they'd see me out of my car and try to run me over. The list goes on.

So many variables. Possibilities. Staying in the car is much safer. Letting the police do their job. I'm really glad this ended somewhat positively for you. Thanks for sharing the experience also.

warmest wishes
Wayne
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Re: Road Rage

Post  Mr Nobody on Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:44 pm

Thanks for posting Dave.

I wasn't there and cannot judge you. In the end you are safely at home without injury or in jail.

I think Nick's advice is spot on. I think maybe going back to the first moment he stopped next to you and asked what you said you could have replied "nothing mate I was singing to the radio" or something like that and that might have been enough to avoid the whole incident from playing out.

However, we all think of the right thing to say well after the moment has passed!

Additionally, if you are followed, don't worry about going home...just drive to a Police Station, or call them up saying you are going to wherever Police Station as you are being followed by an irate driver. We've had that happen here while I've been in the station, funnily enough when the victim arrives at the station the offendering driver is nowhere to be seen!

All in all though, you have to say "screw you ego", relax and enjoy a happy Xmas with your family.
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Re: Road Rage

Post  Dave on Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:04 am

Thanks for the input guys, I agree I did the right thing staying in the car and as such my bruised ego has mended quite quickly. I like and agree with the SF comparison by Nick regarding only dealing with conflict when it is the only option.

Mr N I agree that I could have told the driver that I had been singing to the radio, but, I was very angry about the way that he had been driving, I had been rear ended on the same motorway in November 2010, and (rightly or wrongly) I wanted him to know that I thought his driving was unacceptable. You make a very good point though and using a different approach may have allowed me to avoid the situation. I also like the idea of driving to the nearest Police station, good advice, thanks.

CPP it only dawned on me when I saw his car parked up with the door open but him still inside that he may have a weapon. I couldnt agree more that these unknown quantities are something we need to be aware of. As you guys point out Prison at Christmas is a shit place to be, as is the hospital or the morgue.

Thanks again and Happy Christmas guys santa



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