Wednesday, May 6, 2015

About angry drivers…

Paz Etcheverry, Ph.D.


On a sunny and humid April Monday morning in Florida, as I was peacefully driving through a very lovely and quiet neighborhood, heading to a nearby supermarket to get some bananas, the car right in front of me stops to chat with a friend who was in another car, travelling in the opposite direction. I waited ten seconds, which seemed like an eternity to me, and then politely honked my horn to get the driver’s attention. Mind you- I know how to do a polite, ‘wake up’, I-am-right-here-behind-you-in-case-you-did-not-notice honk. My civilized honk failed to get any reaction from the driver; therefore, I proceeded to honk again, this time a little bit longer. Nothing. The driver seemed to think that he had the entire right to stop in the middle of this residential road to chat with his friend. I could not drive around him, and, while I often dream about this, my car is not equipped like the Batmobile to fly the friendly skies. At least not yet. Bummer.

I honked again. Unlike my previous attempts, this time I did get the driver’s attention, but not the one I was hoping for. Instead of him waving goodbye at his friend, he looked at me and yelled some profanities, which I will not share with you. Anger overcame me, I have to admit, and I also yelled some profanities back, which, again, I will not share with you, dear reader. At that moment, the driver waved goodbye at his friend and began to drive away at the speed of shifting tectonic plates, in a clever move to irritate me even further. I realized at that point that I was indeed dealing with a driver who was irate and irrational. Not a good combination. I made a U-turn and took another yet longer route to get to my supermarket.

Doesn’t this annoy you when it happens? Why block the entire road when drivers could leisurely talk at a park or in the comfort of their own living room? Why not park and chat? Why be inconsiderate and insensitive to others? I was not proud of the way I reacted. When I got home later that morning with half a dozen bananas, I did a search online about irate drivers. I learned that anger on the road is very common, which means that we need to learn how to deal with difficult and angry drivers. I learned that there are certain things that I should not have done in this situation including insult the man. Here are some tips for all of you lovely drivers:

1.      Do not engage in a rant of profanities. If the driver wants to call you every name on the book, please count to 10, 100, 259, or 1,948,001 if need be, but do not engage.

2.      Do not participate in a dance of hostile and rude gestures. Keep your eyes ahead and ignore the angry driver.

3.      Remain in your car, and if approached on foot, roll up the windows and lock the doors.

4.      Do not take it personally. As Don Miguel Ruiz wrote in The Four Agreements, nothing that others do or say is about you, but a reflection of their own reality.

5.      If you feel threatened, grab your cell phone and call 911.

6.      Additionally, report the aggressive driver by calling #77 or 112.


Safe travels, everybody!


Post a Comment

About Me

Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
View my complete profile