I’ve got a full tank and an open road. Summer breezes are blowing though my wide open windows. I’ve got excellent road music and I’m ready for sublime driving freedom.
Until someone cuts in front of me without signaling and then does 20 km/hr. Now the person behind me is tailgating.
Cool mint and a blue streak
Ordinarily, these things would send me to the brink of implosion. But I have a new coping strategy for dealing with driving challenges. It’s much better and my old method of compulsive gum chewing accompanied by a blistering stream of profanity.
Once again armchair psychology comes to the rescue. Don’t flip the bird to that person riding your bumper; just get inside his mind to figure out why he’s driving like a moron.
The Jung and the restless
Let’s start with people who tailgate, or The Caretakers. I think these people have over-nurturing issues. They want to be right next to you to make sure you’re okay.
They drive so close so they can see in your rear window to make sure you don’t have the air conditioning on too high. They can also check the positioning of your mirrors and make sure your radio is not too loud. They just don’t know when to stop caring.
I put speeders into two categories; The Scientists and The Pursued.
The Scientists are conducting multiple experiments on how to break the sound barrier. There are so many variables in this experiment it’s done in all kinds of driving conditions with all kinds of vehicles.
The Pursued are more complex. I think they’re driving away from the demons in their pasts, or presents. Their desperate need to get away is what puts blinders on them. Poor scared lambs, no wonder they don’t see all the pedestrians, bikes, animals, and other drivers as they gun away from their problems.
Finding a place and a voice
Then there are the Meanderers. These folks just drift all over the place without signaling. I think these lost souls are just searching for their purpose in life. They can’t find their answers in any one lane, so they keep veering around in hopes of finding something…anything.
The lack of signaling indicates frustration and despair in their fruitless search for truth or at least the right lane.
The Decibel Benders are a sad lot. You’ve heard their modified, mufflerless, motorcycles belching their way around town. These poor waifs are just trying to find a way, any way to express themselves.
Conventional avenues of communication such as speaking or texting are closed to them. All they have left is the language of the straight pipe to tell the world their story, express their feelings, and relate their worldview.
On the other end of that spectrum are the Uber Comms. These people just can’t stop communicating. They have so much to share, they must express themselves constantly or risk migraines, high blood pressure, or boils.
That’s why you see them driving and texting or chatting on their cell phones. If they ever stop communication, the consequences could be dire. What a horrible affliction.
All are welcome, or are they?
I take some diagnostic liberty in identifying the Puzzle Pieces. They are often called Aggressive Drivers. I think their behavior comes from a desire to fit in and not from hostility and impatience.
That’s why they’re always changing lanes and passing everyone just to cram into impossible spaces forcing people to let them in. They just want to belong, be loved, and be welcomed in. There’s a place just for them, but where? Perhaps in front of you.
You may have encountered the Reality Challengers. These brave pioneers want to change the way they see things in the world; things like red lights and yield signs. With their laser-like focus, they can change red to green and yield to merge. Wowzers! They can even make crosswalks disappear. Astonishing!
Keeping cool behind the wheel is really just a matter of applying some questionable psychology to some atrocious driving. When you can identify and diagnose the unbelievable road behavior you encounter, driving is a lot more fun.
Just don’t get too deep in thought. You wouldn’t want to be pegged as a Meanderer. I better hang on to my gum.