Driving Etiquette: Jumping to conclusions and recognizing you’re wrong

Road RagePhoto by Mr Jaded on Flickr

Doesn’t really sound like any of our past driving etiquette rants does it? That is because not only has it been some time since the last one but because it is different.

Today driving home HT noticed quite a few erratic drivers, nothing new for New Englanders but more than one person needed a toot from her horn so they didn’t sideswipe her (her car has a Napoleon complex but in this case people kept trying to merge into the car instead of in front or behind it).  Just minutes from home a common traffic behavior happened.

The opposite lane, which was at a standstill, let a driver turn into HT’s lane.  It was hard to see and she had to slam on her brakes because the person, who also couldn’t see came out in a leap of faith.  HT waved her on, really what else could she do any ways but noticed that the driver behind her was disturbed, waving and talking towards her.  Instead of getting angry or smiling both options she typically chooses she shrugged and raised her hand out the window and muttered, “What do you want me to do?”

Traffic moved again and she got back to singing to the radio thinking nothing more about it.  Not to many intersections later she was in the stopped turning lane when the disgruntled driver behind her slowed down as he passed, curious and expecting the finger HT looked over to see him mouth “Sorry” and wave.  She only had a moment to react and nodded but as he drove off she smiled.

Then that simple interaction took on a greater meaning.  She wondered how many times had she done stupid things on the road and felt in the wrong later.  Just a simple sorry can take the stress out of driving.

I thought that was a great way to sum up the experience but HT wants to add a few words.

“This situation was very benign and he wasn’t beeping or screaming out his window.  He probably couldn’t figure out why I stopped so short but once he saw the other driver figured it out.  I hate to admit but if he showed more than the minor irritation I probably would have responded by driving rather slow or some other stupid thing that could have easily escalated.  Err, but that is not what this post is about.”

Ha ha, HT nice try, but that deserves its own post don’t you think?  My only real question is why would you have your windows down in November?  Brr.

What about you?  Have you ever jumped to conclusions while driving and said or done something only to realize you were wrong?  What did you do?

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