Driving for me is a competition. After years of soccer, volleyball and track and field, I have had to resort to my behind the wheel activities in order to get my competitive kicks.
The following are the confessions of a road rager.
I am a fast machine. I have huge problems with the lazy left laners who reside, seemingly permanently, in the Passing Only (AKA, if you drive above the speed limit, this is your place) Lane.
Has America yet to figure out that it is dangerous to pass cars on the highway on the right? So in my two lane interstate despair, I send curses to the clunky sedan who not only adamantly refuses to move over to the right lane so my horn and I can get by, but rides alongside, never passing, the semi-truck who chooses the cautious speed of 50 mph.
The speed limit is 70.
I swear I keep my cool.
After the sedan very reluctantly moves past the semi, and does not yet change to the right lane, I put on my signal, check my blind spot and make my very dangerous change to the right lane to pass Mr. Molasses.
I have to slam on the brakes because just as I have slammed my foot on the gas pedal, the extremely low viscous man behind the wheel gets the picture and scoots suddenly over to the right.
Exasperated, I ride in two lanes, jerking back into the left side and glare at the jerk sitting straight up in his seat in the lane beside me.
Every road trip I take starts off in more or less the same manner.
So my frustration is completely warranted, right?
I end up taking a few minutes to catch my breath after the near-collision, turn up the radio, get comfortable in my lovely low-rider (yes, I drive a low-rider) and enjoy my time behind the wheel.
I truly do love to drive. However, now we come to unavoidable road-rage scenario number two.
My deep-breathing technique of calming myself works and my nerves subside.
Once again I am faced with the same predicament: I come up on a slow left-lane offender, who has forced me to lose my cruising speed of 85 and brake.
Well, I think calmly, there doesn't seem to be any chance of them (a little couple in an Explorer) moving over.
I decide to take the initiative, signaling, checking and moving over casually to the right to pass the slower-moving vehicle.
I am all set, no rage here. I make it so their passenger side window is directly next to my driver side window when the Explorer speeds up.
What are they doing? Clearly, I will be the faster car here. The familiar rage takes over, and I punch it, determined to make it past them before I come up too close on the right lane semi-truck.
My heart pounds, just like it did when I would race in track, and I take off, neck and neck with the Explorer. I pull ahead, but the semi approaches rapidly, and I am forced to brake.
I had to take a loss.
Settling on the defeat, I signal once again and slide into the so-called fast left lane. Of course the Explorer has reduced its speed again, and I am stuck in slow-man's land until finally getting by the 15,000 eighteen-wheelers hissing and grunting to my right.
Then I am free. I expect it will only be temporary. The left-lane offenders should be removed from the road because, as everyone should know, the left lane is reserved for passing. Unless you are going to pass everyone on the road, stay out of it.
The honking and cussing that you hear could be prevented. If there is a vehicle within two feet from your bumper and the driver behind you is slamming his (okay, her) hand against the steering wheel in utter dismay, odds are she wants you out of her lane.
And her way.
-Ashley Devick is the entertainment editor of The Daily Beacon and can be reached at email@example.com
Columnist turns road into race
Published: Fri Jun 25, 2004 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 06:10 p.m.