Originally created 08/25/02

Too many rude drivers spoil the road for us all



Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.

- Frank Leahy

I have long been frustrated with rude drivers.

You know, the ones who speed up, slow down, cut you off, etc., then merrily zip ahead down life's path, seemingly unpunished for their bad behavior.

Police say ignore them.

It's not worth the righteous road rage it would take to run them down, bring them to a halt, then take a ball bat to their windshield.

No, we're told to be philosophical.

The thinking goes that someone who takes that many chances has got to get caught eventually, and when they do, we'll be able to pull up beside him as he stands on the side of the road bathed in the glow of flashing cop-car lights and tell the trooper writing his ticket, "You know, officer, he passed me a way back going at least 100, and I noticed he wasn't wearing his seat belt, either. I'll sign a statement, if you like."

But this almost never happens, and the bad driving continues.

I think a lot of it is the general anonymity of being a modern motorist. In the old days, you were on a horse or sitting in the buggy in full view and relatively easy to identify.

Cut off Farmer Zeke's wagon in front of the General Store, and he was liable to slip by your place one night and drop a dead cat down the well.

But now there are so many people out on the highway, and too many of them are slunk low in the seat behind their tinted windows smug in the knowledge that no one knows who they are, so they can get away with almost anything.

The rest of us are left to stew and fret.

We do so because if there's one thing worse in our competitive culture than someone getting ahead of us, it's someone getting in our way - and the highways seem to be full of both.

There always seems to be one more moron than we counted on, and we begin to suspect we're the only decent drivers in the world.

We know that when we speed, it's justified.

When we pass someone, they deserved it for driving too slowly.

When we cut someone off, it was necessary to get where we were going.

We can't understand why that guy in our rear-view mirror is shaking his fist like he's mad or something.

And we're surprised when he appears to be reaching in the back seat for a ball bat.

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bkirby@augustachronicle.com.