Raging on the Road to Pass the Time

On long cross-country drives, it is not unusual for me to find my Newman, that innocuously evil nemesis who seems intent on ruining the flow of my driving or simply driving me insane.

Their driving travesties are honestly not that bad when compared with say, global terrorism or Barney, but they’re just annoying enough to make me slam back a diet cherry coke, ask incredulous questions to no one in particular and tense my hands in the 10 and 2 position to make the steering wheel feel my pain.

This last trip I did not run up against the ever-heinous long-term-blinker addict. However I did experience a touch of the exasperated-that-I’m-only-going-10-over-the-speed-limit-elaborately-gesticulating-tailgating-headlight-flicker-er, and the you’ll-thank-me-for-my-high-beams-in-your-rearview-mirror-when-you-eventually-go-blind-and-don’t-have-to-watch-The-Fantastic-Four-Part-15-a-couple-years-from-now-ite.

However, the most annoying this trip was the woman who graduated from the driving school where they preach vehemently against conformity such as the use of cruise control or any kind of control over the speed of your vehicle. It must be a large and successful driving academy because I come across its students with frequency.

Why it should bother me that a person passes me only to slow down to below the speed limit so I can pass her at a steady 70 miles per hour, only to have her blow past me like I’m a pylon 2 minutes later, pull back in front of me and slam on her brakes, I’ll never know.

But she is my nemesis and I feel that she must be stopped. After about the 3rd time she passes me, my patience begins to fail. I say things like, “Ratchin fratchen fruggen!” and grip the wheel more tightly. Eventually I begin the drinking and in a battle of wills, I vow to maintain my speed of 70 or veer off the road in the attempt.

It is a standoff. I with my cruise control and she with her blatant spedometeric insanity.

I know I should be worried about much more important things but in a several hour drive with a little boy who points out every rock, tree, blade of grass, speck of dirt, piece of water and cow we pass and repeats his observations frantically until they are acknowledged with a respectful level of frenzied excitement, little things tend to catch my attention.

Is it illegal to ram someone’s taillight to silence their eternal turn signal or is that just considered a public service?

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24 Responses to Raging on the Road to Pass the Time

  1. Theresa says:

    Amen and AMEN!!!!

  2. Mimipz5wjj says:

    I hear you! Amen indeed!

  3. bon says:

    THIS is why I make Dadguy do the driving on roadtrips whenever possible!

  4. Sarah says:

    I feel your pain, sister! Especially about the incesant road-trip narration from the back seat. I mean, you can only say, “Oh yeah!” and “That’s neat!” so many times….

  5. Maria says:

    Public Service!!!! I always go the route of passing said nemesis, then inadvertantly getting stuck next to another vehicle for a mile or so, while speedy mc slowdown impatiently waits to pass. Does it stop em? No, but it sure is fun. Love your story, glad I followed a link.

  6. heather says:

    I just got back from a drive to S.Cal. I can feel your pain!

    What drives me up a wall is the people who drive so fast and constantly switch lanes in an attempt to “get ahead”- who will ride my tail (and I am behind about 3 other cars) and then quickly pass me in the next lane only to sit behind the semi that the rest of us are patiently passing only to end up on my tail again!!! (I don’t know if that run on sentence made sense but it was good to get it off my chest!).

    The bickering in the backseat is almost more than I can bare! “Mom, EL is touching the movie player”, or when someone drops something and WAILS that I must pick it up RIGHT NOW- despite the fact that I have explained to them I am driving!

  7. glittersmama says:

    Oooh. Those incapable of maintaining constant speed where possible drive me crazy! Definitely my road trip Newman. Is it a game to them or are they really that oblivious?

  8. Jill says:

    I really hate that. The only thing ‘I hate more is people who stay in the passing lane driving 10 miles under the speed limit.

  9. JustRandi says:

    One time I played that leapfrog game with a middle aged man, until finally the last time I passed him I put a horrified look on my face and pointed at his front tire. He pulled over to check it out and I never saw him again. Mean? Considering all my options, I thought I was being terribly kind. Nobody ended up with whiplash or anything.

  10. Jenny says:

    Ok this one has me laughing aloud (much to the chagrin of my husband). Ah road rage, what a beautiful thing.

  11. Nantiemeg says:

    public service!! I have the same thing. I think it’s because of Dad. He would always get mad when the car in front of us wouldn’t keep their speed up.

  12. Christie says:

    So funny! I just got back from a road trip last night and encountered this same woman…or someone else who had graduated from this, apparently, national school. I for one will sign any petition making it legal to ram the tail light. Should I call my congressman?

  13. jodijean says:

    arg, just readin this got me all riled up. sheesh people learn how to use your cruise control, and for the love of pete when you merge it should go like a zipper, okay? but i’m sure everyone who reads this knows how to merge, right????

  14. Lisa says:

    I had my own “crazy lady” yesterday driving to a So. Cal beach. Our friends in the car ahead called to tell us to “get away from the crazy lady!”, but with her driving down the middle of two lanes on a major CA freeway, it was a little tough. I did finally honk at her and get past, while she continued to drive down the middle of two lanes behind me. I was lucky as were you, but I have an uncle who wasn’t. His “road rage” turned ugly and a guy slammed on his brakes in front of him sending him spinning on black ice and into the freeway median. He is now paralized from the neck down. Steer clear of the crazies out there! You never know.

  15. AMEN!!! Run these people off the road – they are a menace – not just to other drivers, but to our sanity as well!

  16. Checkers says:

    I’m so with you! I hate annoying drivers! But I have to tell you about my hubby.

    My husband hates stupid drivers and he has taken on the role of their “teacher.” If they’re driving too slow in the fast lane (I don’t think he’d consider 10 over slow, by the way) he tailgates them until they move over. If they speed in the slow lane to pass him, he’ll speed up and block them in behind the slow driver. I tell him that his “teaching” is viewed as stupid driving to the other drivers. He just says, “I am an educator. I’m making the road safer for everyone.” Riiiiight.

  17. My husband once stressed me out so badly on a drive that I tore a tendon in my hand gripping the steering wheel so tightly… Good. Lord.

  18. Kimberly says:

    Okay, not only am I so with you on this, I’m killing myself laughing because that was one of the most brilliantly funny posts I’ve read in a long, long time!

  19. the anti-cruise control camp is spread far and wide, my friend, far and wide. And it really does make me drive like and angry moose, as if the way to get back at them is to pass them at 100 until they are so far behind me it will take them a good 30 seconds to pass me again. Arg.

    and Cherry Coke ZERO, is an improvement over Diet Cherry Coke, in my humble opinion. Try it.

  20. Sarah says:

    Clearly public service I say!

  21. Lei says:

    Pick me up off the floor… Laughing with you, of course! (Right?)

    Don’t we all have a story like this? Ugh. I totally feel adn know your frustration!

  22. There should be a course you have to complete to be able to drive on an Interstate. The people who cannot figure out how to merge should not be allowed on the Interstate.

  23. Eve says:

    I find even if they’re not doing anything wrong, on those long roadtrips I just get SICK of seeing the same tailpipes!

  24. Julie Q. says:

    Well, it’s probably been said (but go ahead and shoot me cause I’m not taking the time to read your lovely prose AND the gazillion comments that follow) but my husband will kiss your feet (with my approval of course) if you take out the fast/slow/pass/impede lady. She is also his nemesis. I wonder if she has cloned herself – some in various stages of age advancement and gender flipping from my observations – because she’s all over the place.

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