The reality of rural road rage
500 Words: Cringe
A school day morning. An appointment I have to get to. Running late…again.
I drive towards town quickly, edging the car just over the speed limit. I’m close now, the main road’s up ahead and there’s no traffic. I approach the corner, my blinker on to turn left.
I slow down but don’t stop, I keep rolling as I turn my head and look hurriedly to the right to see if I can make the left-hand turn.
Okay…so there’s a car there, coming straight,but it’s a fair way away. If I get around the corner fast I’ll be right. And so I do. I put my foot down, and speed (just a little bit) as I make my left-hand turn.
The next thing I know, that car which I thought was a fair way away, is right on top of me. Bugger, I think to myself. The driver is gesticulating wildly at me while, at the same time, honking the horn long and loud.
Bugger, I think to myself, again. Where did she come from? The gesticulating has morphed into rude finger signs and mouthed obscenities, which I can see quite clearly now as the driver has edged her vehicle right up my car’s backside.
When I spy the cracked, green P-plate lopsided on her car, I snap. I’m angry. I slow right down. I’m well under the speed limit. This makes mad P-plate lady even angrier but I don’t care.
Yes, I probably shouldn’t have made that left-hand turn, but I’m sure she sped up after I made it and now she thinks it’s funny to tail-gate me and abuse me in front of her car-load of teenage passengers.
Stupidly, I start waving “hello” into my rear view mirror. Of course, this only serves to inflame the situation. We get to the bottom of the main road, and I need to turn left to start skirting around the town. I’m pretty sure she’s going to keeping straight. But she doesn’t. She keeps following me, horn blasting, and now with her window rolled down she continues to yell abuse at me.
I cringe again. This really is getting out of hand. Sure, I probably did make an error of judgement but her behaviour is completely over the top. How far is she going to follow me? Should I stop my car and try to sort this out? Is she likely to try to hit me or my car any time soon?
I approach the roundabout. I have to take the second exit. She’s still behind me.
I’m feeling scared now. My hand-waving bravado has deserted me. People walking along the street can hear her horn and they can see her shouting…at me. I feel so ashamed – what will the locals who recognise me and my car think?
I take the second exit whilst holding my breath. The mad green P-plater honks staccato-style and hurls abuse whilst hanging out of her window. In a blur of expletives and honking , she takes the first exit and speeds off.
I exhale. I’m safe. I feel like a total idiot and I cringe as I remember what I’ve just done, but I’m safe.
My teenage son puts his book away and unplugs his ears from his music as we pull up outside school.He is totally oblivious to the cringe-worthy road rage incident I have just contributed to.
Thank goodness for small mercies!