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Confessions of an ex-road rager.

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Confessions of an ex-road rager.

Old 08-25-09, 11:09 AM
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fredgarvin7
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Confessions of an ex-road rager.

I was the angriest driver in the world. Every other driver was an IDIOT!!!! an A$$$HOLE!!!! a LIVING TERD!!!!!!!. They had no purpose in life but to make my morning commute miserable. There was the woman who drove 20 miles an hour under the speed limit for 10 miles because, as I found out, the bank didn't open til 9 and she didn't wanna be bored waiting there. So she got there at EXACTLY Nine and I was 3 minutes late for work. Couldn't pass. Or the time I was stopped at a stop sign and approaching me from the left was a car with it's right turn signal on, it's 2 right tires on the shoulder, and doing about 15 in a 35 zone. So I figured it was turning into my street. I pulled out and they KEPT COMING! Fortuately we avoided an accident but I was forced to see 4 senile citizens rattling their dentures at me. NO idea of course WHY I pulled out!!!!! I found myself screaming and raging at EVERY slowdown. If someone entered the roadway causing me to have to brake or even quit accellerating I would punch the center of the wheel with the heel of my hand or, bring my closed fist down on the top of the wheel. My wheel was no longer round and my horn didn't work. All I wanted was a THROAT in my hands. Often! The urge to ram some JERK! was getting harder to fight.

....And then I STOPPED. I just stopped. I left ten minutes early every day and ignored the mistakes, discourtesy, and stupidity of the other drivers....NO MATTER WHAT! I just DECIDED to do it. I got my steering wheel fixed. My face no longer set into an automatic snarl of hate the minute I slid behind the wheel. No big zen moment or anything. I still got ticked off at other stuff. I just realized that I was eating myself alive with rage. And I was abler to let go of it without a regret. This part is irrelavent. I'm not really telling folks to get rid of rage. i'm warning and reminding us all that "I" am still out there. No me personally, anymore but my twin in violent, savage anger. If I were to hurt someone while behind the wheel I would feel terrible....LATER. But while driving I was a time bomb. I didn't drive badly, but I drove with an attitude. It helps me to remember my emotional state when I was this way. And I wouldn't want to cross me! Actually as a bike commuter I can get MAD again....at certain stupid rude acts. I enjoy biking far too much to ever spend much time in that state while doing someting I like as much as riding. Fortunately only a tiny percentage of drivers are in my former state.
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Old 08-25-09, 11:46 AM
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Good for you. The volume of anger and aggression on the roads is really sad.
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Old 08-25-09, 11:55 AM
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I was never an angry or hostile driver in the way you expressed, but I did speed and drive overly aggressively. I too just stopped one day (maybe about 9yrs ago?) on a whim. Since then I don't speed at all, coast into red lights, accelerate gently, courteous to other drivers, chill out in traffic jams, etc. Motoring became more enjoyable, although watching others caught up in the silliness can be disheartening.

I did not have give more time for my route to do this. The time savings from the fast aggressive driving were so minimal - far more time is lost on average due to traffic, lights, etc. I now arrive at my destination relaxed instead of agitated. I also gained 15% improvement in mpg!
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Old 08-25-09, 12:13 PM
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I used to get very pissed off too as a young driver. Always speeding, following too close and whatnot. It's funny how I always felt like people were pulling out right in front of me. Well yea, I was driving too fast for people to accurately gauge my distance (or they pulled out in spite).

Sometime around 18 years old I realized I was just spitting in the wind. There was no pay off for speeding and excessive lane changes. Sure you may catch one light green, but the next one has a way of turning red. And when yours turns green, everyone else on your cycle end ups right there with you again. Once I gave myself to the mercy of the lights, I became much more calm.

As I get older (27 now) I've gotten better and better at ignoring that invisible but very real peer pressure by other motorists to break the law. Riding a bike has made me even more considerate. It helped me respect that everyone in front of me has the ROW over me.
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Old 08-25-09, 12:25 PM
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Hello, my name is Dr Java, and I'm an aggressive driver. I love to drive fast and push my motor vehicle to the limit. I am now going into my 5th year of recovery. I have had some set backs, but I have managed to get back on track each time. I now enjoy the power and handling of my fine machine on weekends outside of the congestion found during commutes. It feels good to have my life back. I would like thank my sponsor, my bicycle. Without you I could never have made it this far.
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Old 08-25-09, 12:36 PM
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My "rage" left after I realized I saw the same people on the road every day. Kind of embarrassing, really.

After that, I still drove...mmmm..."assertively." I was (or became) what I thought was courteous to others, but I still enjoyed driving as fast as I wanted (as long as traffic allowed) and pushing my car pretty close to its limits on the turns. It wasn't about getting anywhere any faster. I was just "having fun." There were several times that I tested the speed governor on what I considered to be an "empty" road. It was "OK" because my car was very capable, and besides, I was an "excellent driver."

I'm not sure what flipped the switch. Maybe it was bicycling more often, or maybe it was before that. Actually, I think the seeds were planted by other driving enthusiasts--people who you might think would condone such behavior, but who disdained it, instead. "Keep it on the track," and all that. Gas prices helped, too.

Anyway, there was a realization that being a considerate but fast driver wasn't good enough. I needed to slow down to be safer (protecting myself and others), save fuel, and set a good example for my kids.
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Old 08-25-09, 01:10 PM
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RogerB, we have had similar experiences. You are welcome to join us at our next meeting.
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Old 08-25-09, 01:28 PM
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nice write-up, RogerB...
though i think i'm still party stuck in the 'assertive' zone. amazing how fast a minivan can go stop and turn corners
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Old 08-25-09, 01:58 PM
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Who hasn't flipped off and yelled at "that idiot" only to realize it is your neighbor, friend, or kid's teacher? LOL.
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Old 08-25-09, 02:08 PM
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The way I stopped driving so aggressively was to drive a truck for a while. I was up so high and stopped caring and then realized the absurdity of it all. I kinda felt like Jane Goodall watching all the chimps.
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Old 08-25-09, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Hot Potato View Post
Who hasn't flipped off and yelled at "that idiot" only to realize it is your neighbor, friend, or kid's teacher? LOL.
I've flipped off the VP of the division that I work in a couple of times. On the commute home he drove by me and toot tooted. I thought it was just some jerk busting my chops for riding in the road.

He thought it was hysterical.
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Old 08-25-09, 02:47 PM
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I am always afraid I am going to flip off someone I know or someone that works with my husband. Could you imagine getting fired for road rage?

When I drive now, I am way more cautious and TRY to be more courteous. Before I didn't care as much, but I always ALWAYS gave bikers 3 feet and never ever was rude to them.
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Old 08-25-09, 02:48 PM
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Good stuff. I mellowed out on the road the day I took my first born son home from the hospital. I was scared out of mind with him in the car while driving on the highway. Any car that got near us freaked me out. I eventually got used to it, but I now remember how I felt then. So I give everyone some slack not knowing if they have a little bundle of joy in their back seat. Of course growing older helps too. That and the meds, they help as well. Yeah the meds help a lot.
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Old 08-25-09, 03:22 PM
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After bicycle commuting for a few years, and seeing that all the jockeying for seconds in traffic really doesn't make a big difference, I now drive like an old man -- a happy, mellow dude, with no schedule and all the time in the world.

It's a relief! And its funny, now, to watch others nip and dive and drive like crazy.

I also get much better mileage than before.
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Old 08-25-09, 03:25 PM
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Hi... My names Citizen... I haven't honked, screamed or flipped off anyone behind the wheel for 72 hours.

that person (I almost said guy but it cant just be the blokes) lives inside many of us. My 'awakening' came via a particular NJ route I call 'the equalizer'. No matter how aggressive or how passive, how fast or how slow, how angry or how peaceful you drive you inevitably end up stopped at the same traffic light with everyone you saw at the previous light. I cant tell you how many times I'd get irritated by something on the road, get aggressive, pass the passive (ugh) party and see them roll up on me at the next traffic light with this face on: Meanwhile I'd be something in between this: and this:

So why be that guy... why take the toll on myself mentally, emotionally and physically and still end up at the same traffic light (metaphoric or not). That philosophy has extended itself into a lot of things for me; people complain about Mondays and I remind them if they rush through the day fast enough next Monday will be here even sooner.

"On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero"
Take it slow, smell the flowers, carpe diem, be the ball... all that stuff.
/preeching

Its core to why I got back on a bike and in turn how I ended up being the lurker at BF that I am.

To bring it back to the topic though, yes, the crazies are out there. Maybe their numbers are small but it only takes one. The little guy (thats you bike person) has to be the one to be smarter and more vigilant because we're the vulnerable ones. Be safe out there.
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Old 08-25-09, 03:35 PM
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I also remember a story my dad told me about when he was in his 20's. He got cut off by some whackjob and flipped the dude the bird. The guy followed him all the way home ready to throw down. The guy stepped out of his truck and was twice the size of my dad. It took all of his wits to talk his way out of a beating that day. So I always think twice about flipping someone off. It could be that dude. Not worth it at all.
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Old 08-25-09, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by DX Rider View Post
He thought it was hysterical.
Did he kiss you at the staff meeting?
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Old 08-25-09, 03:51 PM
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Huh? I only get road rage on my bike.
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Old 08-25-09, 04:13 PM
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I spent some time in Penang. Often took taxis from south end to north side. One driver was super aggressive and ended up swiping a motorcyclist. They battled for the next 20min chasing each other around town, on sidewalks, wrong side or road, etc, kept trying to hit each other or something. The ride was 30min longer than usual, driver asked if it was OK to not drop me off in front of hotel, but 100yrds away and declined any payment. Fun times.
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Old 08-26-09, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by fredgarvin7 View Post
....And then I STOPPED. I just stopped. I left ten minutes early every day and ignored the mistakes, discourtesy, and stupidity of the other drivers....NO MATTER WHAT!
Welcome to the HUMAN race. Glad you could finally make it!
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Old 08-26-09, 12:06 PM
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I'm generally a pretty mellow driver. I'm not sure if it's the biking or what, but I find that normal driving speeds get me where I'm going plenty fast enough. But the past couple weeks I've had more driving to do that usual, and it's been stressing me out and pissing me off. The tailgater who tried to cut around me while I'm in the tapering end of a merge lane. The truck that ran a red light almost sideswiping me (and the guy who was tailgating me at the time, leaving no room for emergency braking). The pedestrian that walked against the light at one of the busiest and messiest intersections in the city. To all these people, I have this to say: YOU'RE ALL IDIOTS AND I WILL NOT SHED A TEAR WHEN YOUR OBITUARY APPEARS IN THE PAPER.

With that out of my system, I can calm down now. My wedding errands are run, so there shouldn't be so much driving in the future.
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Old 08-26-09, 01:21 PM
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My story is similar to most others on here. I used to be a VERY aggressive driver, always thinking other people were to blame, I was the best driver out there and everyone else sucked.

Ultimately bike commuting is what caused me to change, but it was only a matter of time. The news reports of road rage gone crazy, people beating others with tire irons, shootings, swarming gangs on aggressive drivers...all helped to change my attitude because I realized one day, ...."You just never know who you are going to piss off and what they have in their car". I also began thinking about the 'other' person, maybe they had a bad day, maybe they got fired, maybe found out their spouse was having an affair, maybe their daughter came home pregnant"...the issues people face are endless, and its always better to give people a break.

Bike commuting was the straw that broke my aggressiveness. Now I am a calm driver. I still speed, but only on open highways when there are few cars on the roads. Like someone else said earlier, even traffic jams don't bother me anymore.

Good thread OP.

Cheers
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Old 08-26-09, 02:10 PM
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Join this. It helps you vent all your driving pent up energy. It is safe, you might learn something along the way and get to know the limit of your car and yourself. Make new friends.

http://www.scca.com/hub.aspx?hub=3

I leave all my driving angst at Autocross events and redline to high heavens. Come weekdays, I drive like a calm. But nowadays I mix it up with cyclo-commute which is also great. Street racing is for cowards. If you got skillz, come visit your local Solo II event.
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Old 08-26-09, 02:16 PM
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I use to drive like this also and my main issue was when I was on the highways. Going 10 mph over the speed limit and people tailgating me or cutting me off, just would boil my blood. High stress by the time I got to where I was going and I would stress everyone else that was riding with me also.

My wife talked me into driving the speed limit in the right hand lane. Drove me nuts. Until I got to my destination and I was much less stressed out. I drive that way all the time now. Get there a little later, but much more relaxed and happy.
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Old 08-26-09, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bkrownd View Post
Huh? I only get road rage on my bike.
When I first started commuting by bike, I realized that all the aggressive driving I do in my car is ultimately pointless. I might save a minute or two here and there, but at what cost? So while in my car, I slowed down and if the drivers around me are doing crazy or stupid things I just watch in amusement. The problem is that now I'm developing road rage on my bike. When I'm doing a track stand at a light, the light changes, but no recognition of that fact registers with the motorists I'm waiting behind. Drives me nuts
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