The Humble Commuter Part 2

Road rage is a fascinating phenomenon. People who suffer from it really do freak out over the smallest things. It’s actually pretty fun to watch a grown person work themselves into a tizzy because of some imagined automotive malfeasance. My favorite is the exasperated “throw arms in the air plus tilt head back” move, with a close second being the emotionally charged “obscene gesture with snarling face” maneuver. One time I witnessed a driver repeat both of these in rapid succession for a full half hour. I laughed so hard I almost crashed into a guard rail. The emotional state I all too often find myself in during my commute is clearly not road rage, for two important reasons. One, there is nothing imagined about the crescendo of automotive blasphemy occurring on the other side of my windshield. Two, the word “rage” is too tame to adequately describe the blood boiling explosion of fury that sweeps over me. So let’s both take a deep breath, count to ten, and share some insightful tips for safe driving that are guaranteed to sooth even the most venomous vehicular vexation.

  • Bike lanes are no longer just the subject of science fiction movies and dream sequences. I have never actually seen one, however I have been assured that they are real. From what I have been told a bike lane is similar in appearance to the extra mini-lane some roads have that provides room for your passengers to hang things out the window. If you do see a bike lane be careful not to swerve into it and run over the bikers.
  • Frequent lane changes are a must. Not only do these improve the safety of all drivers, they also allow you to display your driving superiority so that a proper pecking order can be established. Without this natural hierarchy the flow of traffic can degrade into chaos. This is America, and you have a God-given right to be in any lane you want, any time you want. If the occupants of  your destination lane are too daft to notice, resort to using your signal, look straight ahead, and without hesitation slowly pull into the target lane. They will let you in, trust me.
  • There is a bizarre group of thrill seekers that can seriously jeopardize your safety that you need to be aware of. These sick individuals paint paths across the road then at random times walk or run along these paths directly in front of oncoming traffic. I’m not kidding, this is a real thing. Rather than be put off by these twisted weirdos I turn the tables on them. Since they get their kicks running out in front of moving traffic, I do what I can to make it worth their while. Whenever I see them coming up I accelerate and veer crazily back and forth as I speed through their makeshift pathways. I think they call themselves “crosswalkers”.
  • Imagine you are in a truck stop off I-70 in the barren plains of western Colorado drinking coffee that smells of what you imagine fresh deer poop smells like. While swapping stories with a grizzled overweight trucker with an eye-patch over a perfectly functional eye, you hear the incredible and spooky story of “keep right” signs.

    “Long ago it was decided that on roads with more than one lane, slower traffic should keep right so that faster traffic could pass on the left. Multiple signs were put in place all over the country, some reading “slower traffic keep right” and others saying “keep right except to pass”. Mysteriously not long after these were put in place they all disappeared without a trace. Except for the occasional unsubstantiated “ghost sign” claim, not a single driver has seen one since.”

    Spooky indeed.

  • During long highway drives you definitely want to try what I call “pace-car-ing”. This is a technique in which you match the speed of a car going a bit faster than you after it passes. For as long as possible pace your speed in direct proportion to this car and follow them through traffic. In the event of a speed trap the car you are pacing is much more likely to be pulled over than you. If the officer does mistakenly pull you over, you now have an ironclad defense that once explained will cause the trooper to sprint back to his vehicle and speed off to catch the real perpetrator. Do not combine pace-car-ing with tailgating. This could result in an uncomfortable confrontation that involves more than one police officer (don’t ask).
  • On most highways you have a friend out there, and that friend is the breakdown lane. Are you stuck in traffic a mile or so from your exit with people obviously going straight? Your exit is not the source of the traffic, why should you have to wait with them? The answer is you don’t. Pull on into the breakdown lane and enjoy a quick get away as you blow by all the stop and go suckers.

I don’t know about you but I sure learned a lot. In closing I want you to remember: you do own the road; It is a race; the parking lot is the autobahn; and we will not all get there when we get there.