Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tale of an Aggressive Driver

While travelling, this weekend, my girlfriend and I approached an I-10 bridge that's been reduced to one lane since the hurricanes that ravaged the area a couple of years, ago. (That's right. It may not be on the news, anymore, but the effects still linger.)

Anyway, before the two lanes merged into one, I'd decided to switch lanes. The driver of the sport utility vehicle ahead of us decided that he (I don't really know the driver's gender) didn't want me to pass, so he purposefully drifted across the lanes to block my path. I honked, but got on response. When I went to the right-most lane (an exit lane that hadn't ended, yet), the driver drifted that way, as well.

Just as a test, I quickly switched lanes, again. Sure enough, the SUV quickly pulled in front of me to block my path. I leaned on my horn to express my displeasure in the traditional method. In case that wasn't clear, I clarified my position with a creative hand-gesture.

"You're number one."

I resigned myself to my fate and the very temporary imbalance of power in this situation. After about five minutes, we made it across the bridge and the lanes opened up.

I don't know if the SUV driver lacked the forethought to realize that his abuse of power was limited to a very short period of time or what. I'm sure he realized it soon enough, though, as he attempted to distance himself from me.

I wasn't having that.

I wanted to get along-side this vehicle to get a good look at the driver while I say things to him that he'll never hear. Then, that'd be that.

Instead of taking his medicine, he pulled off on the first exit, as I expected. I did the same.
He turned left. I did the same.
He put on a signal to stop at a gas station. I did the same.
He decided not to enter the gas station. I did the same.

He apparently was convinced, by this point, that I was following him. In response, he increased his speed down a road I'm convinced he hadn't originally intended to travel. (His license plate said "Tallahassee" and going that route would take a loooong time.)

I figured this person's cowardice immediately after having bullied us spoke volumes and there was no need for us to "communicate" further. After all, I never intended to approach in such a way that'd justify my getting shot and I certainly wasn't interested in beating anyone up.

So, I turned around and resumed my travel. We spent about one minute on this little detour, so don't think this was some very extended scenario.

That said, I'm sure that some of you see this as a friend of mine did when I explained it to her, last night.

She felt that it's just not worth the energy - especially since, as she sees it, I accomplished nothing.

I disagree.

That person's true colors were exposed. That's something.
My displeasure was clearly communicated. That's something.
And, most importantly, the next time this driver considers the dangerous option of using his SUV to bully someone else who's just driving along, bothering no one, he'll think twice.

THAT made it all worth it.

No, I don't make a habit of following people and I didn't do it this time for very long, at all. I realize that road rage has lead to some very unfortunate and tragic ends. I was disgusted and disappointed, but I certainly wasn't raging. My method of dealing with this person, had he not run off with his tail between his legs, was going to be very measured, as well.

It was a chance I was willing to take, in this instance, for a very short period of time and I think it was absolutely worth it.

Whether you agree or disagree, feel free to share your opinion in the comments section.

Oh yeah. I took a picture of the SUV and wrote down the license plate number. Partly because I wanted to be able to identify this vehicle/driver to the authorities, if I should need to, later. Here's the pic (with unique identifiers removed):


chele said...

What was your girlfriend doing while you were getting your macho on?

I ask because when my guy's testosterone hits these levels I'm sitting in the passenger side begging him to calm down and just drive away.

I agree with your friend. It's not worth it. Do you think the SUV driver is blogging about you and your displeasure?

I think this is really a guy thing. Maybe I'm wrong ... wouldn't be the first time.

West said...

re: "What was your girlfriend doing while you were getting your macho on?"

She didn't object, once.
I don't think there's anything inherently "macho" about wanting to speak up about being wronged.

I was concerned that this story might come across like me trying to beat this guy up, when I wasn't interested in anything of the sort.

re: "Do you think the SUV driver is blogging about you and your displeasure?"

Not at all.
I think he's just rethinking whether it's a good idea to use his SUV to bully anyone else, in the future.

The fact that it was his fear, instead of my intended words, that lead to this result says more about him than it does about me.

I was only interested in speaking, not getting physical, which is really what he did.

DivineLavender said...

West just be really careful. Sometimes when people are really scared/frighten they do extreme actions....Be Careful Brotha!

chele said...

I hear you. You were dealing with a coward.

I had to go back and read this again because at first it DID sound like you were ready to fight somebody.

Ditto divinelavender: be careful.

Koffee said...

not sure if i would've gone to the extent you did but i can identify w/your displeasure! it serves him right - and hopefully he did learn a lesson - what if you were some maniac & shot @ him (i know thats dramatic but it happens) he put himself, his passengers & possibly your life in danger by acting a donkey!

JoJo D. said...

West, I agree with you. Sometimes peoples's rudeness is hard to take. Clearly the other driver was practicing road rage against you when they tried to block you intentionally. But it is good that you got the plate number and things for later use if necessary.

Your girl was cool, and that probably kept you cool, too.

Son of Blog-El said...

Is West gonna have to choke a bitch?

See my wife would have been yelling out the window and I KNOW that mutha would have heard her.

I agree with what you did. I had a similar experience meself I did. I choked the bitch.

West said...

re: "Is West gonna have to choke a bitch?"


YouToldHarpoTaBeatMe said...

Yanno? I paid waaay too dayum much money on my SUV, so using that bad boy as a weapon is out of the question. With every loaded SUV I've purchased, my road rage has diminished.

No doubt, that joker was sked, and he probably didn't realize that you weren't intimidated. I hate when people pull up when you buck back. Never should've went there in the first place.

That couldn't have been me you were following tho. I'm the the crazy chick that'll lead someone into a crack-infested hood or tap my brakes when someone tailgates me, AND I have a neck brace in my truck...and OnStar's my best friend. LOL

West said...


Well, I won't mess with you, then. I saw what you did to Harpo. ;-p