Even though my driver’s license road test score in the mid-90s was a disappointment, I have grown up to become a fantastic driver. The DMV should be proud that I am now able to parallel park on a one-way, while listening to the radio, talking on my cell phone and unwrapping a cheeseburger.
I find that other drivers are not so talented. They struggle with basic things, such as stopping at red lights. In thirty minutes worth of errands, drivers cut me off, some budged in line at a four-way stop and a delivery truck ran a very red light and almost t-boned my vehicle. I used my horn a few times during that drive, not out of rage but as a gentle reminder to people not to hit my car.
No one is perfect and I admit that sometimes I make driving mistakes, but I always meet the road raged drivers with a little wave, a quick shrug and mouth the words “I’m sorry,” trying to diffuse the situation quickly. If I’m wrong, I’ll say I’m wrong. But if I’m right, then I’m right.
I could not have been more right on a sunny day when I became grouped with an exodus of commuters departing Grand Forks after the workday wrapped up at 5 p.m. Most vehicles began at the starting line – the entrance ramp to southbound I-29 – but the leaders quickly emerged and became small dots on the horizon. The slower vehicles (those doing the speed limit) tended to clump together.
Once the speed demons raced past, there weren’t many of us left. I moved over to the left lane, about to pass a slower moving vehicle.
Out of nowhere a woman who could have passed for Danica Patrick’s mother zoomed up in her towering SUV. She slowed her speed so she could hover next to me and shoot an icy glare. Her lips formed colorful words and she even gave me a fist pump. I doubted she could fit between my vehicle and the one ahead of me, but she was determined to try.
I can’t take full credit for what happened next and if I could remember who gave me this tip, I would thank them.
While she hovered, I looked toward her, my face lightened and formed a huge smile with twinkling wide eyes. With one hand on the wheel, the other waved excitedly. In that moment, she thought she had stumbled upon a long lost friend.
She inched ahead of me but I watched as the color drained from her face. She stopped yelling and glaring and as her vehicle moved forward her head whipped back and forth from the road ahead of her to trying to catch a glimpse of my face. I could see her turn to her passenger and could only imagine her saying, “I think I might know her!”
That will give her something to think about the next time she plays her road rage card for no good reason.
Once she passed, I got back in the right lane, set my cruise control and giggled all the way home. At least on my home roads I can observe the crazy drivers instead of being stalked by one.