Road Rage seems to have become a lot more common nowadays than to what I remember. I know as South Africans we tend to live a slightly more stressful lifestyle than most other people around the world. However, I really think that we should take more care in who we choose to have a “fit” with while driving. There are some crazy people out there and these days, you just have no idea who you are picking a fight with.
Now I know that the last thing someone needs at the end of a long, tiring day of work or after an afternoon of crazy running around picking up children and taking them to extra murals is some imbecile cutting you off or almost driving into you. If this happens, some people have a lot of self-control and tend to let it slip by which is a great thing to do, but I’m sure most of us honk our horns, flash our lights or pull a zap in the perpetrators direction. I myself have been guilty of doing so which may not be the smartest idea since I am five and a half foot tall and weigh forty-eight kilos.
I only gave thought to this issue recently when I experienced two road rage incidents with my father. Yes, my father. He’s not exactly a big man, but hell he can be scary. After finishing with exams at university, I decided to go to my father’s office with him to get some work experience and learn from him and his team. My father has a ruthless reputation at his company and most are absolutely petrified of him to the point where they actually stutter while speaking to him. Don’t get me wrong, he really is a very good man and is also known for his fairness and for how hard he works. Having said that, he does not exactly have a calm demeanour and has the mixed blood of the Irish and Italian giving him a fiery temper.
One morning, driving on our way to his offices in Benoni, a man sped up to us in his SLK viciously pulling a zap sign at my father. At first we both looked around and thought, “Who pissed off this guy?” After this continued for some time we eventually clicked he was pulling signs at us. We were both rather bewildered as we had not done anything wrong. Eventually we got the chance to pull up beside him, my father rolled down his window and so did the other man. My father then asked, “Are you pulling a zap at me?” The man smiled slyly and replied, “Did your daddy buy that car for you sonny?” In utter shock I stared at my father, knowing this was not going to end well. It was a bizarre statement to make as my old man is fifty-seven years old, and this guy did not look a day over forty-five and we were driving in his Saab. Before my dad could say anything, the robot turned green and the man raced off, but I could already see the burning temper rising in my dad’s face and the rage set into his eyes.
And so, we followed the man in hot pursuit. At the next robot my father pulled up beside him smacking his side mirror and said in his slow, angry tone, “Who the F#@k do you think you are? Pull over and get out your car!” Of course, the idiot refused to do so and drove away trying to get away from us. Still, my father followed, the whole time signing him to pull over his car. Once again, we pulled up next to him, smacking his side mirror against ours, and my father said, “Just pull over your car. Let us settle this properly. I am not going to stop until I get you” After we had chased the moron for thirty minutes and we came to yet another robot, the same exercise was repeated. This time the guy said, “Ok, please, I’m sorry, just leave me alone” to which my father’s response was, “No, no, no. You don’t understand. I am not going to F#@k you up; I am going to kill you! Me, my day is written off and stuffed because of you. It doesn’t matter where you go, you can go home, you can go to work, you can go to the police station. But me! I’m with you for the whole day until you get out that car. And when you do, you are going to be sorry! Just get out now and get it over with!”
I sat stunned and in silence throughout this whole process. After a further twenty minutes of chasing him around my father eventually calmed down and pulled up beside him once again and said, “I may not get you today, but trust me, I’m going to find you, which you can count on!” We just went home after that as my father was so furious. Still I said nothing.
Funny enough, about two weeks later my father bumped into the man again and well, it didn’t really end that great for him.
On the second occasion we were on our way home on a Friday and it was about five in the afternoon. All was well until a bunch of morons who were in their early twenties dangerously cut us off. To my surprise, my father did not fly out the car. He just hooted at them and only once. After he did this, the youngster driving flew out his car and came up to my dad’s window and said, “If you hoot at me again, we are going to have a problem old man!” Well, my dad sighed, looked down at his lap and climbed out the car and said, “Listen. I’ve had a long day and a long week. I’m tired and all I want to do is go home. You boys look dressed up for a joll, so just get back in your car and be on your way.” The smartarse then remarked, “I will f@#k you up old man”. That did it! My father punched him right in the face and he flew backwards and fell flat on his back. His two mates then jumped out the car and came running towards my father. Very calmly, in his scary way my dad held up his hand and said, “If you take one more step towards me, you will end up in hospital, so I suggest you pick your buddy up, get in your car, and get out of my sight” The pair willingly complied and drove their mate off.
When I think how scary my own father was in those situations, it got me thinking: If my dad acts like that, I cannot imagine what other psychos are out there! Can you imagine if someone had a gun? Or a knife? Or even a baseball bat? Firstly, it doesn’t matter how angry my father is and how aggressive he can get, that’s no match for a weapon. People can get seriously injured in incidences such as these, even if it is physical fighting. My father broke that kid’s nose.
So this is just a friendly warning to all drivers out there, just be careful on the roads and look out for yourself. Next time you get angry at another driver, just think twice about any serious road rage attack you might have. You never know if the other person could climb out their car with a gun. People can be crazy these days.
(I am also not saying that you should never confront another person about dangerous driving. There are some cases were people need to be reprimanded for jumping stop streets and traffic lights.)
Drive wise and stay safe!