Saturday, 28 February 2009

It's All Over The Front Page - You Give Me Road Rage!!

I want to attach a huge gun to my car. I’m not talking about the kind of gun that fires bullets. Instead this gun (or as I prefer to think of it “paint bazooka”) will fire huge globules of paint, mainly at cars whose drivers piss me off – that would be most cars then. I want this gun to sit on top if my car and to automatically rotate on my voice command and eject a massive blob of paint in a direction of my choosing and onto any adjacent car that causes me to descend into road rage.

I am normally a very placid and laid back guy, a man who tries to smile in the face of adversity. I am relaxed and, apart from the odd rant, I am a happy chap.

However, put me behind the wheel of a car, ask me to reach my destination quickly, throw in a little traffic congestion (just for a laugh) and then fill the roads with moronic drivers and pedestrians and you will see me mutate into a monster, a little like the Incredible Hulk but without the muscle and green transmogrification.

Why does this change occur? I don’t know. I’ve asked myself this question repeatedly. I am a very patient fellow and can normally cope with most situations. Yet put me into the middle of a traffic jam with inconsiderate arses on either side and I want to crush, kill and destroy.

A deep primeval rage surges from within and I become a ranting monster; I turn into “Road Rage Man”, the Mr Hyde to my normal Dr Jekyll.

So what annoys me about driving? Well under normal circumstances – nothing! It is the stupidity and selfishness of others that annoys me. Driving on at the weekend is sometimes a pleasurable experience and I sing and smile as I pootle along the roads without a care in the world. It’s when those thick drivers encroach on my happy driving experience that I lose my temper.

Here is a list of things that truly make me mad:

(1) Tail-gating: Joking aside, tailgating is one of the most dangerous bad habits that any driver can have. I sometimes wonder whether certain drivers take their brains out as soon as they enter a motorway slip road. When the motorway is busy, what usually happens is lane one is full of lorries and lane two is full of cars overtaking those lorries. If I drift into the fast lane to overtake those cars, I usually find myself behind a steady stream of other cars all travelling at the same speed. So when Mr Tailgater looms up behind me, there is usually absolutely nowhere to go. The lane inside is busy and full of traffic with little or no space to move into and in front there is another car, a safe distance away, who is the same distance behind the car in front of him. So when Mr Tailgater approaches my car, driving less than a foot behind me at 70mph, flashing his lights to try to force me over, I tend to lose my rag. Mr Tailgater typically drives a top of the range BMW and is a high powered businessman – you know the kind; the kind of man who screws up a company then escapes with a golden handshake. Well if you are reading this and you tailgate I have one thing to say to you: STOP IT!!!!!!

(2) Hogging the middle lane: Mr Hogger probably considers himself to be a safe driver. In the UK it is illegal to undertake, particularly on a motorway. So why does Mr Hogger continue on his merry way, driving at 60mph in the middle lane when there is absolutely no traffic in the slow lane? Now I’m sure Mr Hogger would argue that he his perfectly within his rights to do so and he may even say that he is travelling in the middle lane to save him from pulling out again when he encounters the car on the inside lane that is about a mile in front of him and in most cases travelling faster than him. I say to you, Mr Hogger, that you are driving dangerously. Why? Well, there are people like me who probably aren’t as sensible as I am who will lose their tempers with you. And to teach you a lesson, they will undertake and gesticulate at you, or they will shoot out behind you, crossing two lanes, and then cut you up as they return to the slow lane. But you probably won’t even notice will you? So if you are reading this and you hog the middle lane: PULL OVER!!!!!

(3) Sunday Afternoon Driving: Mr SAD is usually an old person who owns a car that can break the land speed record but drives it like it is a milk float. He is usually a pensioner and wears a hat in the car. WHY DO YOU WEAR A HAT???? Furthermore, Mr SAD will drive in a 30mph zone at 20mph ALL THE TIME. Why? When you are driving in a conurbation there is only one lane so people have to pull out facing the oncoming traffic to overtake you. If it is busy people can’t do this so you hold up traffic. And again, those with less patience than me will pull out and risk a collision with oncoming traffic – I’ve seen it happen – I’ve been the oncoming traffic. So if you are reading this: DRIVE FASTER AND TAKE OFF THE BLOODY HAT!!!!!!

(4) Dithering: Picture the scene. You want to turn right onto a main road (for Europeans and Americans this will be left). The traffic on the main road is fairly busy but there are gaps. At the front of the queue to turn right is Mr Ditherer. This careful driver takes an absolute eternity to pull out. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been stuck behind Mr Ditherer. I’ve wasted probably a year of my life screaming in frustration as I’ve watched him dither for what seems like an eternity. Even when cars have slowed down on the main road and flashed to allow him to pull out, he has dithered and dithered – and I have wasted another five minutes of my life. Three cars could have drifted out and he sits there dithering. So if you are reading this Mr Ditherer: TAKE YOUR TEST AGAIN!!! YOU CAN FAIL FOR DITHERING!!!!

(5) Bad Parking: Have you ever parked at a supermarket and returned to your car to find that somebody has parked right next to the driver’s side leaving about a millimetre for you to open the door and get in? Do these people have no sense of distance? Mr BP is either totally inconsiderate or just hopeless at parking. I have to go round to the passenger side and climb in usually injuring myself on the gear stick as I clamber into the driving seat. One time, I returned to my car to discover that Mr BP and his brother had parked either side of me. I am not making this up. I could not open either door and had to open the hatchback door and climb in through the back. Mr BP is also incapable of parking his car in an empty car park, usually straddling two places. This is fine until the car park fills up and you are driving around looking for that elusive last spot. So if you are reading this and you are a bad parker: PRACTICE AND HAVE SOME CONSIDERATION!!!! THE CAR PARK IS USED BY OTHER DRIVERS!!!!

(6) Extreme Road Rage: OK I may sound like a hypocrite here but I suffer from passive road rage – i.e. I rant and rave in the car and my screams of frustration are usually drowned out by Metallica or Judas Priest. However, there are certain people who take it a little too far and either bang on their horns or actually get out of their car and use threatening behaviour. I have encountered such a person who quite literally exploded because I didn’t pull off the second the light turned green. He drove right up behind me, shaking his fist, beeping his horn and flashing his lights. So if you are that person and are reading this: CALM DOWN!!!!! YOU WOULD HAVE SAVED ALL OF TWO SECONDS IF I HAD MOVED THE MICROSECOND THE LIGHT TURNED GREEN!!!!

(7) Failing to Indicate: The purpose of indicators is to tell other drivers where you intend to go. If you want to right you indicate right and if you want to go left – guess what? Yes that’s correct – you indicate left! You do not indicate left to go right or vice versa. One mistake that Mr Directionless makes is that he assumes other drivers are psychic! We are not. If you do not indicate, we do not know where you intend to go. The number of people who fail to indicate and then move without looking astounds me. Do they have a death wish? Mr Directionless, I implore you: USE YOUR BLOODY INDICATORS!!! I CANNOT READ YOUR MIND!!!! AND LEARN WHICH DIRECTION IS LEFT AND WHICH DIRECTION IS RIGHT!!!!!

(8) Dazzling: There is nothing more irritating than driving on a dark country road at night time and then having Mr Dazzler loom up behind you with his lights on full beam. Worse than Mr Dazzler is his friend Mr Lorrydazzler. Lorries have higher headlights so they illuminate the inside of my car entirely and blind me completely, as well as giving me a terrible headache. Mr Dazzler: TURN OFF YOUR BEAMS!!!!!

(9) Overtaking Lorries: On the motorway, lorries tend to travel slower than other vehicles. Sometimes they overtake each other, but when they do, they do so extremely slowly. A huge articulated lorry struggling up a hill on the motorway will be travelling at less than 50mph in the slow lane. So if another articulated lorry decides to overtake him travelling at 51mph, it will take an absolute eternity, cause congestion and give Mr Tailgater the chance to intimidate people like me. To the drivers of lorries: PLEASE DON’T OVERTAKE ON BUSY MOTORWAYS BUT IF YOU MUST, WAIT UNTIL THERE IS NO HILL!!!!!

(10) Stupid Pedestrians: I am particularly annoyed by youngsters who walk out in the middle of the road very slowly as I sit there waiting for them. I’m talking about teenage kids with attitude problems who glare at me as I glare at them. They assume that I won’t move and run them over. Believe me lads, the temptation is almost unbearable. And those pedestrians who are in the middle of the road as you turn left or right. They are usually crossing the road but appear like startled rabbits as you approach them, wandering whether they should move or go back. They end up standing there like idiots, waiting for me to run them over. JUST MOVE!!!

(11) Cyclists: I have cycled on a road and am aware that traffic can be very dangerous for cyclists. I try to be careful so that I don’t end up smeared over the bonnet of a car. However, there are cyclists who think they are invincible and weave in and out of slow moving traffic. Worse, there are cyclists who ride in the middle of the road oblivious to the queue of angry drivers behind them. Even worse are those idiots who cycle at night wearing no reflective gear and without lights. There are numerous occasions when I’ve only noticed these pillocks at the last minute and had to slam on my brakes to avoid crashing into them. Other cyclists pull out to get round parked cars without checking how many faster moving vehicles there are behind them. A message for cyclists: IF A CAR HITS YOU BECAUSE OF YOU STUPIDITY YOU WILL BE INJURED. IN A FIGHT BETWEEN A CAR AND A BIKE, THE CAR WILL ALWAYS WIN!!!!

(12) Finally, the most annoying people of all. These people make me furious even when I am not in a car. Picture the scene; you’re walking down the street when you suddenly start to feel the ground shake. You look around expecting to see buildings moving and then it appears about half a mile away: the dance car, usually driven by a complete arsehole. As the car approaches, the incredibly loud thumping scares local creatures and shakes houses to their very foundations. You see the driver, usually a young buffoon, moving his head in time to the dreadful dance music played at a volume that would make Ozzy Osbourne’s ears bleed. As the car passes, you see that he has a complete sound system occupying the rear of the car, with speakers that Metallica would think twice about using for a concert at Wembley Stadium. I can only surmise that these morons are deaf. If you are in a car it is much worse – because you can’t escape them. I have driven along listening to heavy metal at a fair volume and had one of these loons behind me playing music so loud that I have heard it above my own. No volume in my car is loud enough to drown out the sound of the dreadful crap coming from their car. When I arrive home I am deaf myself. I have two things to say to these guys: TURN THE BLOODY MUSIC DOWN!!!! PLAY SOME ROCK MUSIC INSTEAD!!!!!

That’s’ enough for now – I’m losing my patience just reliving the episodes of my life where I’ve encountered road rage.

I need to take a chill pill now as I am quite worked up. Breathe deeply, Dave, breathe deeply. It’s Sunday tomorrow – I could go for a nice drive. And if I encounter anybody in a car wearing a hat I might just cover his car in red paint fired from my new multi-directional paint bazooka.


Daedalus said...

Seems the only difference between driving in the UK and the US is the side of the road we drive on. Though I'm willing to bet there are far more giant pickup trucks and SUVs on the road than in the UK. Nothing worse than an idiot in an SUV full of kids watching their DVD player while the driver weaves all over the road. I can't believe DVD players in the front seats are legal.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Daedalus,

No we don't get many SUVs on UK roads. As far as I know, DVD screens can only be seen in the back seats of cars over here. it owuldn't surprise me if such a rule has been overlooked though.



Anonymous said...

No ranting about motorbikes? We feel left out now!

The Plastic Mancunian said...

The only time motorbikes annoy me is when I'm stuck in congestion on the motorway and they roar past with smug grins.


Most irritating.



The House of Husar said...

George Carlin pretty much summed up what I think of other people when I drive.

Watch this video or forward to 3:50 or a little before....

"Anyone that is driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone driving faster than you is a maniac."

The Plastic Mancunian said...


That's so true. I don't claim to be the world's greatest driver (far from it) but I really need to calm down a bit sometimes when pillocks appear ...



Dr Ruth said...

Sounds like "sexual frustration" to me, we might need to bring Mrs PM in on this one.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Thanks "Dr Ruth",

I'll tell Mrs PM what you said. I'm sure she will appreciate your thoughts on the matter.




Dr Ruth said...

The idea of having a large "paint" bazooka firing huge globules of "paint" confirms it. It’s a common phallic symbol you know.

Do you feel you are having a midlife crisis too? Maybe we should talk about it…?

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hello again "Dr Ruth",

What puzzles me about this is why you, a man, should call yourself "Dr Ruth". Is there something you're not telling me?



earthtoholly said...

Hi PM,

I'm with you on ALL of these! Like you, I get passive road rage. We have a lot of Mr. SADs and I swear every one of them ends up in front of us. How about pulling out in front of you, then going way too slowly. Or waiting until you're right at them before they pull out. Aaargh!

And how about cell phone users? Usually every offender of the rules of the road is on the phone! Who's everyone talking to anyway?? Obviously not a driving teacher.

Now I've gotta take a deep breath!

p.s. do you prefer to be called PM or Dave or can I just mix it up? :o)

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Holly,

I'm not surprised to see that Mr SAD is ubiquitous. And yes - pulling out in front of you at the last minute is particularly annoying.

It is illegal in the UK to drive whilst using a mobil phone - but it doesn't stop people doing so. On my 20 minute journey to/from work I usually see five or six people gabbling away on the phone instead of concentrating on driving.


You can call me Dave or PM - whichever takes your fancy. PM is my evil internet persona (the one I shall use when I take over the world (wide web).




Robin Easton said...

Alrighty then, I think that pretty much wraps up that issue!!

I am literally rolling on the couch laughing my head off. I mean I am REALLy laughing. The whole poat and all the comments are HYSTERICAL!! I think your new name is Platic Manic! Or Plastic Maniac. I mean, we could work this several ways. LLOLOL!!!!! LOLOLOL!!!!! It's okay we will ALL help you. LOLOL!!!

I'd need you to come out from under the B&W mask though to really get a feel for the final name that WE would come up with. I think we could even come up with some syndrome initials, you know, like they do for ADD, ADHAD and all "those" type of "things". I think PMDD might work quite nicely for you. Can you guess what it means???

Ah ha! You thought I was going to TELL you what it means. No, I will just leave you with these thought to poder...while you drive. LOLOL!!!

Or you might try podering them while jump on the trampoline?? Just a thought!!! :) :) :)

This was a truly magnificent post!!! I loved it! Thank you and may be peace be with you...when

Cheers and hugs,

PS I also loved the honesty in this post. Not many people would admit this many faults. LOLOLOL!!!!

Okay, I'm outta here! :)

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Robin,

I imagine that some people think that I am a happy-go-lucky guy who smiles and laughs a lot; I do but as I have confessed, I am opinionated and do sometimes go on a little bit when I get the bit between my teeth.

There are many things that wind me up - sadly those who know me (like "Dr Ruth") know exaclty what they are. Bad driving is pretty high on the list. When I wrote the post it was a little like a blur - almost as if I wasn't in control :-)

But that said, I'm glad you found it funny (most people do find my rants funny).

PMDD eh? I have a very sick and sordid imagination so my mind is working overtime (LOL) - I think "Dr Ruth" will probably have a few suggestions :-)

In fact, it might just calm me down when Mr SAD and Mr Ditherer are in front with Mr Tailgater looming behind and Mr Dance Car trying to overtake, as a cyclist weaves in and out of the traffic and a bunch of young lads glare at me whilst crossing over the road.

One final thought - I would make a terrible psychiatrist (shrink). If somebody came to my surgery saying "I've got a problem with road rage" I would be there saying "YES!!! SO DO I!!" and as he ran screaming from my office I would be chasing him, saying "AND ANOTHER THING ..."

Thanks for a brilliant comment Robin (as always).