I hate my road rage ... but I hate the people who cause it worse!

So tonight I decided to take the scenic way home from Broomfield, which meant Clear Creek Canyon instead of Boulder Canyon (which is scenic, too, I just see it alot more). I am not going to get to see these views on demand once I move so it was a cool thing to be able to do.

I am on the stretch of highway that goes into the mountains. It is a 45mph zone (or is it 40?) but the commuters go through at 65-70mph. I got an email on my phone and I had been expecting a message, so when I get the "ding" of the email I pulled off the road to read it and reply. You know, the safe thing to do.

I was basically here:

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Once I was done sending my reply I locked my phone and put it down, then put the car in drive, waited for an opening and got back on the highway. I saw a white car in my rearview but it was way back, I had plenty of time to get up to speed. Except this guy turned out to be going quite a bit faster than 45 and by the time I hit 40 he was breaking to slow down, right on my bumper.

No surprise, he started to pass me. One problem ... this is a no passing zone, 1 lane going each direction. You can see that from the Google Maps streetview above. And there was a car coming at us in the distance that he couldn't see because he was so close to my tailpipe when he started to pass. I put my left-handed bird in the window, thinking he would go even faster and barely make it (and he did try, he was almost parallel with me when he backed off and got behind me again).

By this time I had not only gotten up to speed but was speeding myself by about 10mph just trying to keep a little space between us. We got to this point:

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And he started speeding up to pass me. Do you see the problem from that picture? Yeah, that's not a damned passing lane or second lane, it is a TURN lane, to TURN left:

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(no, the red car wasn't there ... but there WERE cars in the distance that he once again couldn't see)

So I accelerated to keep him from passing me illegally and moved in to the turn lane on the left so that I could slow and he could pass me on the right. While doing this I looked in my mirrors and I couldn't seem him, he was in my blind spot. I -assumed- on my right. Guess what happens?

That's right, he keeps passing on the LEFT, meaning I'm in the left TURN lane, he's across the solid yellow, no one is on the right at all, and he is so close that when he starts to pull to the right (presumably he's got tunnel vision seeing the cars in front of him and hasn't realized he's about to hit me) and scrapes his way up the left side of my jeep.

I'm pretty pissed off at this point. In fact it was almost max road rage. I hate that feeling. But there isn't an easy way to remind myself to breathe before reacting. I start waving at him from behind to get him to pull over. Which he does ... but as I'm pulling in behind him he slams on his breaks so hard that he fishtails on the shoulder and I have to do the same to avoid hitting him. Yep. Road Rage has increased.

We both get out of our cars and I'm pretty much yelling at him about illegally passing. He counters with how I was going slow because I was on my phone.

Oops. Lesson #2 on how to piss me off: argue that I am in the wrong about something that I wasn't doing while I am mad at you for doing something else.

I told him, as I mentioned above, that the reason I was getting back on the road was because I WASN'T on the phone. And that if he had given me a few more seconds I could have gotten up to speed and he wouldn't have had to hurry that much. He then admitted he was doing 65mph (verbatim) and I challenged him to show me a 65mph sign anywhere around there. His response? "I drive here all the time".

Lesson #3 on how to piss me off: Justify screwing up by saying how you do it all the time.


Lesson #4 on how to piss me off: Drive with reckless abandon in an area where I see people dying because of jerk-off bad drivers every year. These canyons are deadly and we were barely a mile (meaning 1 minute as his speed) away from where the switchbacks start. Do people scream through there at 60+ every day? Sure. And those are the people who tell the officer "but I go through here every day" when explaining an accident (or death).

Do I speed sometimes? Sure. I owe the city of Limon $155 for 79 in a 65 (mostly because Limon is a speed trap in the middle of nowhere BUT I was courteous to the officer and will pay the thing like a good boy). Do I go above the posted limits in the canyons some times in some places? Sure. We all screw up. But I don't defend it as somehow being right and I don't try and pass people on the left in a no-passing zone while speeding 20+ miles over the limit.

Anyway, when he realized he was just pissing me off even more he started backing down and said "I'm sorry". But by that point I was seeing red. No major damage to my car (some white paint scrapes, I can buff them out ... I got good pictures of them though and they -clearly- show the impact on my car was on the left and from behind). His white car has some dashed dark grey racing stripes now (I love having dark plastic body panels right now). I told him that if he'd been sorry he wouldn't have been arguing to begin with and in my face (though, had it been me, I probably would have had a hard time not reacting as he did, no doubt). I got back in my car while he was facing me on the side of the road (beside my car, just to be clear, I wasn't threatening to run him over or anything). I told him to get out of my way and that he was lucky he hadn't done any real damage to my car or I'd be reporting it and he'd be paying for my body work -and- likely getting a reckless driving ticket.

He was quite dumbfounded at this point. I was in full rage. I was flat out embarrassed at myself for not being able to get it under control and be slightly more mellow. If I could go back now I would probably accept his apology and go on.

But you know what? I shouldn't have to.

And he's -real- lucky it was me and not someone who would have turned my shaking hands into balled fists and punched him (or worse) as many other road ragers do.

I do wish I could dampen down these stupid fight-or-flight reactions though.

PS. Yeah, I do still know his license plate. Wrote it down. I sort of wonder if he won't be trying to call it in after he sees just how much paint is on the side of his car. So I might just be printing out this blog as a statement. :sigh:

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