The following letter to the editor appeared yesterday in our local paper. Names of the writer, our newspaper and our town are deleted to protect – well – to protect me from being run out of town by the mayor at the end of a pitchfork – or run off the road by one of those “angry faces” mentioned below.
The title of her letter is “Horrified and Terrified!” I don’t know where she lived before, but I’d like to go there. Here goes:
I have recently returned to live in – (name of our town) – after living for a number of years elsewhere. I am horrified and terrified at how most people are driving. The worst offenses seem to be speeding and tailgating. Every day I have experienced cars flying up to my car’s rear end and staying so close I cannot see their front grill in my rearview mirror – ONLY AN ANGRY FACE.
As far as speed limits go, they seem to be only a suggestion, as I observe most people going at least 20 mph over the stated limit. When I travel at the posted speed limit, the drivers behind me become very agitated as evidenced by the high speed at which they pass me and sometimes showing me a certain offensive finger.
I am not a driver who is aging and perhaps should turn in their license, I am one who was taught to drive safely, to obey the driving laws and, most importantly, to have respect for other drivers.
Signed – (horrified and terrified lady)
Then I moved on to “Dear Abby” – yes, I check out her column almost daily, It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who’s screwed up.
On this particular day a lady wrote Abby to complain that she’s “nearly paralyzed with fear” by aggressive drivers when she gets behind the wheel and will not drive on highways, freeways or streets anymore – which doesn’t leave her much more than back alleys and dirt roads. She signed her letter “Scared S – – – less!” No she didn’t, I made that up.
Later the same day I took Mitzi to the vet for her shots and annual physical. While waiting for the doctor, his assistant and I made small talk. When she learned I’m a driving instructor she sheepishly confessed that at 23 she has yet to apply for her driver’s license.
I knew why, but asked anyway. She is so intimidated by angry drivers out there that she has decided not to drive at all, anywhere – ever!
What in the world is it about driving that brings out the irrational and downright monstrous side of otherwise enlightened and reasonable human beings? Can you think of any other human activity wherein law and logic are so openly defied – regard for life and limb are so utterly ignored – and wherein otherwise rational individuals so readily accept suicidal behavior as the norm?
Yet, is there any other human activity – with the possible exception of sex – wherein there is such unrelenting resistance to criticism? You and I both know there are millions of angry and therefore dangerous drivers out there, but is there anyone you can think of who will actually admit to having anger issues behind the wheel and, more importantly, doing something about it?
Very few – and why? Because it’s always the other guys fault, right?
I keep waiting for the day when drivers with temper problems wake up and start acting like grown-ups! If somebody does something that irritates you – back off, take a deep breath and think about the mistakes you’ve made – certainly there must be a few.
The next time you think that guy ahead is going too slowly – check your speedometer. He’s probably driving the speed limit. You remember speed limits, don’t you? If we all obey the law there won’t be the “horrifieds and terrifieds” of the world. And, wouldn’t that be special?