I haven’t been on the receiving end of ‘road rage’ for a very long time (thankfully), and I had forgotten just how upsetting it can be! But yesterday afternoon, I had a reminder of just how unreasonable other drivers can be…
My sister had picked me up from a medical appointment in Aldershot (which almost merits a post on ‘car park rage’, but I’ll save that for another time – maybe). It was a lovely sunny, breezy afternoon, and if all was not exactly right with the world, well, it was, shall we say, fair to middling.
But as we rounded the corner into my street (of course I don’t own it – I mean, the street on which I live), my sister had to pull out around a car parked on the corner, and almost (note: almost) failed to notice a car approaching in the other lane, hot on the heels of another car (driving on its bumper, practically). Luckily, she has fast reactions and noticed just in time and managed to pull the wheel back the other way, avoiding (note: avoiding) the second car. ‘Phew! That was close!’
A moment later, as we made our way further round the circular cul-de-sac (er, dead end) so that my sister could park outside our house facing the right way, and not have to drive back through the narrow street in the dark later on, we realised that a car was right up behind her. Then the driver started leaning on his horn, and as he followed us all the way around, leaning on his horn all the way, we realised it was the driver of the car she had almost (but didn’t) hit.
‘Shall I drive on round a bit, we don’t want him to know where you live?’ my sister asked, both of us feeling a bit freaked out and threatened by now – he was gesticulating at us by this time, still leaning on his horn.
‘No,’ I said, thinking that if there’s trouble at least my husband is home – he is six-five, big with it and has a scar running down one side of his face from a childhood accident (one day I might tell you about the time he accidentally reversed back onto another car in the filling station and cracked the their number plate… the driver got out, all angry, and hubby got out to apologize and to offer to pay him for the cracked number plate. The guy took one look at him, jumped back in his car and drove off (without stopping for fuel) much to my husband’s amazement and the amusement of the guy at the till!) … so we pulled into the drive. Road Rage Man stopped, blocking the road, and started shouting at us. The conversation went something like this:
Road Rage Man: “Any reason you decided to swerve your ****** car at me, love?”
My sister: “I was trying to avoid you!” (which she did)
RRM: “Yeah, well, you two ******** ********* need to learn how to drive!”
At this point I got really annoyed. We hadn’t hit him – so what was his problem? If we had, I could maybe understand his anger, but chasing after us, leaning on his horn and verbally abusing us was really not warranted for a near miss!
Me: “(unprintable) … we’ve been driving a lot longer than you have!” (Guessing he was in his twenties/thirties, maybe even forties, hard to say because he had sunglasses on and never got out of his car – but he was certainly younger than either of us)
RRM: ” *** **!” There then followed a tirade of abuse which although I can’t recall it word for word, went something along the lines of: if we had hit him or he saw us again he would hit us back twice as hard “and you wouldn’t be standing there now!”
Well that was a threat, so I walked towards the house intending to get my husband to come out and see him off – but with a few parting words of abuse, he sped off (luckily he didn’t hit anything but he was certainly well above the speed limit).
It took us both quite a while to calm down after that, as you might imagine! I wished I had taken a photo of his number plate with my phone, because when someone gets that angry over a near miss, you never quite know what they might be capable of – maybe he’d come back and slash our tyres after dark?!? (We once had a driver who had illegally parked in our private parking space for an air show -we used to live in Farnborough and it was a nightmare for the local residents- let the air out of our tyres after my husband got home from work to find someone had parked there, and had himself parked close to him – not enough to stop the driver getting out, but enough to make it awkward)
I know (because I know my sister) that had the guy not been so downright rude and aggressive, that she would certainly have apologized for giving him a fright, and probably made light of it with “at least I did manage to not hit you” which is what most people would find acceptable, right? But the guy wasn’t interested in anything but having a go.
Thankfully nothing else has happened (so far, touch wood), but I know it will be a while before I stop looking for Road Rage Man in his silver estate car…