QUIT: Caring About What Other Drivers on the Road Are Doing

[Part of my mission to “live deliberately” involves ruthlessly cutting out anything that saps my time, energy or money to no good end.  I’m calling these things my “Quits,” and this is one of the many items that have found themselves on my Quits List.]


Everyone who drives slower than you is a moron.

Everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac.

I either read that somewhere once, or learned it from the way my parents reacted to other drivers over the course of my growing up.  Most likely it was the latter, along with such other fine lessons as “Asians don’t know where they’re going,” “blonds are dangerously clueless,” and “red cars drive faster than other-colored cars.”

Those lessons I was able to recognize, even at a young age, as ridiculous biases.  But the moron/maniac thing?  Yeah, that one I assimilated as my own.  And it’s effectively ruined (or at least marred) every car trip I’ve taken since.

I’m pretty good about refusing to let what other people are doing effect the way I live my life.  In fact, it’s kind of my thing.  But when those other people are seen through my windshield or rearview mirror, suddenly I morph into a judgmental crank.  And that is just plain stupid.


Road Rage Severe Irritation

I’m not an aggressive driver, outwardly.

I maintain my “one Mississippi, two Mississippi” distance as taught by various safe driving courses.  If someone is going too slow in front of me, I pass them when it is safe and appropriate.  If someone is riding my bumper, I allow them to ride as long as they please until they decide to pass me.

Outwardly, I have a fairly moderate driving temperament.

But inside?  Oh, inside!  Inside my head, I am cursing like a sailor out of rum and secretly hoping the slow driver realizes I’m passing him because he’s a moron, and the tailgater realizes I’m going precisely the speed limit just to piss him off.

This, I have slowly come to realize, is ridiculous.

If there’s one truthful thing I did learn from my parents with respect to driving, it was my father’s sage advice to “assume that someone will always do the dumbest thing possible, and be ready for it.”  That’s not bias; it’s simple observation.  If you’ve ever ridden in a car for more than a few minutes, you’ve likely witnessed that there are plenty of people out there who do plenty of really dumb (or inconsiderate) things behind the wheel.  Just like there are plenty of people out there who do really dumb (or inconsiderate) things in general.

But it’s not worth getting my panties into an un-big-girl-like twist.


You Do Your Thing (Jerkface); I’ll Do Mine

Mean people exist.  Selfish people exist.  People with perfectly excusable reasons for their seemingly annoying behavior also exist.  There is nothing I can do about any of this.

Maybe that slow driver is someone’s grandmother, and how would I feel if my grandma got cursed at off for driving cautiously?  (She wouldn’t, because I believe she’s actually a bit of a speed demon, but that’s beside the point.)

Maybe that person weaving in and out of traffic is late for a crucial interview (been there) or has a pregnant wife in the passenger seat (thankfully have not been there).

Or maybe they really are just a moron or a maniac.  Either way, my taking personal offense to their driving style and letting it temporarily ruin my groove won’t change the way they drive.  It will just ruin my groove.

File this under things beyond my control that are not worth my getting worked up over.

And, should someone truly deserve a good cursing, they shall get it from Panda Domo (see right), who is now perched in my rear window to gaze out upon everyone who drives behind me.  I leave them to Domo’s judgment, should he decide they deserve it.

Meanwhile, I’ll be keeping my groove on.

Image: PDXdj / Flickr

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  • theaprilblake

    The quote at the beginning of the post is from none other than motherf*ckin’ George Carlin!!

    • Oops. George Carlin/my parents…tomato, tomahto… 😀

  • theaprilblake

    And I also learned how to flip people off at night from my dad at the tender young age of five. Oh the things we remember, right? I was so excited to drive at night at age 16 and do it. It felt like life came full circle.

  • You’re quite welcome. And oh yes, challenging it is. I had my first test of my new philosophy on the drive in to work this morning. Not an easy quit, but Panda Domo’s got my back, so together we’re making it work. 🙂

  • I completely agree. I get SO angry and stressed, I really need to work on it. Because it’s not worth our own stress.

    • It so isn’t! We can’t control what other people do–we can only control how we react to it. The jerkfaces aren’t worth ruining our mood over!

  • Gold Stars for this post!
    I don’t have room in my back window for a PandaDomo (too many blind spots as it is), but if someone is all up on my tail, I glance (okay, glare) at them in my rear-view, and ask them “Really??!? You think being *this|close* is Really gonna gain you anything?? Please, either Back Off or Go Around!”
    … and it usually works! 🙂
    (If it doesn’t, I’ll move over, speed up, or slow down ’til they wake up, hang up or move on.)

    • Yeah, I used to play that game. It can be far too much fun. Part of the need for my Quit. 🙂

  • I also think of a bumper sticker I saw once:
    “I’m NOT in heat – get your nose out of my butt!”
    That helps get my groove back, too. 😉

    • Love it! I don’t think I’m quite ballsy enough (is that a mixed metaphor, in lieu of the subject matter?) to put that sticker on my car, but I thoroughly enjoy it.

  • darkwingdave
  • Cordelia’s Mom

    I never said anything like what you have in quotes that you seem to attribute to your parents, although I will admit to calling other drivers morons, jackasses, etc., and I will admit to screaming at the top of my lungs on the expressway, “Let me in, you [insert cuss word here].” Personally, I think half the fun of driving is cursing out the other drivers (as long as they don’t really hear you – that could lead to road rage.”

  • Stephanie at Visible and Real

    Oh, this is fantastic! I live on the east coast, and it’s just… WOW. This so is amazing.

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  • Domo in a Panda outfit … that is all.

    • That is all that needs to be said. 🙂