How To Avoid Road Rage
Or how to remain the calm and social motoring butterflies we were all meant to be
In the distant month of September, I read an article that claimed that 64% of road users were involved in aggressive behaviour on the road. Such actions start with certain gestures, using words we wouldn’t teach our children, and even kicking against another person’s car-door. We’re not even going to dwell on the people who get out of the car “to teach someone a lesson.”
It really baffled me how someone can be so aggressive while driving, since I am a butterfly in the streets:
I give enough space, I don’t trundle along but neither do I drive up someone’s arse if they’re slower. I understand that even the best driver can have a brain fart. I adapt and overcome, and when I arrive at my destination it is with a calm mind. Meanwhile, Herbert Whoops Where Is My Indicator is going to arrive at his destination only half as embarrassed as possible.
At least I thought that this was true until a fateful day when I was driving into Vienna and a small hatchback was sticking on my rear. I was on the outside line, a tad too fast, and wanted to go left in 50 meters anyway. Hence, it was my morally and ethnical okay for me to be in this lane.
I was still the motoring butterfly I am when I thought with a calm mind “what a bellend …” Then she decided to undertake me. This is annoying enough, but she came to a sudden realisation that also on the right lane a car was in front of her, and decided to use the smallest space between us to squeeze in front of me.
At the next set of lights, I saw here next to me, and found a non-verbal way to indicate that I thought she was an idiot. Then I turned off left.
After parking my car, the realisation hit me. What have I become? Which monster had eaten the motoring butterfly that I am and turned me into this? Appalled by my own behaviour I set out to better myself. There must be a comping mechanism that helps me to become the kind human being I had been once upon a time.
Since I was in a hurry, I did not really bother to think about it just here and there. At least until I realised that this might be part of the problem. When you’re in a hurry, you tend to use your elbows more often. Maybe, and just maybe, if I had driven away ten minutes sooner my patience would have been better.
At least this idea would have made sense if someone had made an honest mistake. Or you suddenly end up in slow traffic. It would do very little to my nerves when it comes to someone who’s completely incompetent.
“While that seemed like a reasonable idea for some …” I began to complain to the Gecko of Good Fortune when I got back into the car. “… I am not sure it is going to work for me.”
The Gecko of Good Fortune
After all, I am the type of person who excels under pressure. I would have never managed my old route five minutes faster had it not been for the pressure. Neither would I have learned how to get away quickly when the lights turn green.
“You see, a little bit of pressure makes me into a better driver,” I concluded, feeling a lot calmer about the whole issue already. This was the moment I had an epiphany!
Instead of showing my disgust through various gestures and inappropriate behaviour directed at fellow motorists, I might as well complain about it to The Gecko of Good Fortune. After all, it is good enough to listen to my off-tune singing hence this should be easy.
However, this gave me a better idea. After all, it has already been scientifically proven by me that singing while driving cleans the soul, waters your crops and makes you into a better, more interesting and happier human being. So, why shouldn’t it help when it comes to coping with a fit of road rage?
Instead of hurling bad words out of the window and making rude gestures, you can sing along with your favourite song. What’s better? Being an angry grump all the time, or singing along to Paris by The Chainsmokers?*
*other songs may apply as well.