What is it about cars that make people so bat shit crazy?

It’s a three lane road. I’m on the far right she’s on the far left. I go to merge to the center lane. I’m about 95% over when the lady on the left starts to merge to the center in my spot.

At this point, it’s no big deal. This kind of mistake could happen to anybody. So I give her a polite tap on my horn to let her know: “Hey, I’m here.” She swivels back into the left lane.

It was at this point she goes bat shit insane. Now she’s trying to speed up in her lane so she can cut in front of me. Apparently to teach me some kind of lesson. :rolleyes: Anyway she can’t because the traffic is too congested. I even tried to slow down a little bit so she could cut in front of me but that didn’t work either. (I didn’t want to slow down too much as to not piss off the guy behind me.)

This goes on for a few blocks until, finally, what does she do in her angst to cut in front of me? She slams into a guy in the left lane! I just shook my head and drove on by. I went a couple of more blocks and thought to myself I should probably witness that accident. So I make a U-turn and park in the adjacent parking lot waiting for the cops to come.

From where I was at, I couldn’t hear the conversation that was going on but I could tell by stupid lady’s body language that she thought he (the guy that got rear ended) was at fault. Seriously! The audacity of this woman!

The cops get there which was even more annoying because the cop seemed to be more bothered, than appreciative of my witnessing! Grrr! I did get to talk to the guy tho’. I gave him my contact info. He did seem to appreciate it.

Had a similar thing happen once. I was the front car in a 3-car accident in which I was stopped and a teenage girl slammed into the car behind me. I stuck around, despite there being no damage (that I cared about; it was an old car) to my car. The attending cop didn’t attempt to hide his irritation that I stayed around, as it gave him one more form to fill out.

The lesson I took away is: if in doubt, always leave the scene of an accident.

Cars turn us into little miniature egotistical Iron Mans. Just be glad our cars can’t shoot laser beams…yet.

I’m glad other people’s cars can’t but I really really wish mine did.

Motor Mania. Still relevant 51 years later.

Beautiful. Indeed, nothing has changed.

On the road, off the phone.

There’s a theory that says that this is because when we’re in cars, we turn into anonymous chunks of metal - we’re cut off from all of the little subconscious body language cues that we use all the time to ease social interaction. If the lady could have seen your facial expression, she probably could have seen that your honk meant “ahem, excuse me, sorry, I’m here, pardon me, thanks” rather than “MOVE IT, DICKWAD!” This lack of stimulus apparently turns us all into raging assholes. Except me, of course. I’m a great driver.

It is clear that you were giving her the benefit of the doubt. After all, if you started your manoeuvre after her you’d be the one in the wrong.
It is equally clear that, regardless of who was to blame for the initial (very insignificant) faux pas, you would still have felt her wrath. Sod the facts, it was always going to be your fault.

Driving turns people into dribbling fools sometimes.

It’s amazing how many dipsticks drive along without a care in the world until they realize that the lane they need to be in to make their upcoming turn is occupied by another car, and they need to turn now.
Instead of driving a little further, turning around legally and safely, and returning, these idiots decide it’s time to stop in traffic and wait, or cut some poor unsuspecting soul off. What the hell people, think ahead.

I was going to say “sorry you had this run-in with my wife” until you mentioned the accident. She has cat-like reflexes and has somehow never hit anyone. The nicest woman on earth and a really good driver so far as handling the car goes but she has some need to “correct” everyone else’s driving. If people drive too slow, she tailgates - if they tailgate, she drives too slow. That’ll teach them. When she does the “cut off the idiot” game (like what the OP describes) it’s like a demon has possessed my wife.

My theory is that some people find driving so easy that they have to occupy their time trying to “teach” others. The safety and anonymity of the car makes it easy to let go, much like posting on the interwebs.

With only minor modifications this is also the explanation of why so many people get into flame wars on the interwebthingee.

When someone honks at me for a foolheaded move I am usually too embarrassed to want to do anything bad to them. It’s a shame we don’t have a universally-recognized hand gesture for “Boy did I screw up! Sorry!”

A lot of people get caught up in “teaching someone a lesson” with the idea that somehow driving badly will make that other driver who did something wrong* realize the error of their ways. Yeah, right. When a person is being tailgated, they don’t think Oh, maybe I accidentally cut that person off or I guess I am driving a bit slowly; they see the tailgating as an aggressive move (which it is) and tend to react defensively, by driving even slower or tapping their brakes, taking their turn to “teach a lesson” to the tailgater. It’s so fucking stupid and dangerous. Just move over and let the other person go by. What the fuck do you care if some asshole wants to go faster than you do?

*or perceived as wrong

One lesson that I learned through bitter experience is when the cop says “Now you don’t want everyone’s insurance to go up do you? Why don’t I just let you guys exchange information and work it out between yourselves?” he’s NOT trying to be nice, he’s trying to get out of doing all that paperwork. In my younger, stupider days I got burned twice because, of course, the jerks that ran into me gave me names, addresses, and phone numbers that didn’t exist.

Now I’m older and crotchety, and will say, “No, officer, I DO want to file a report.”

Also, another tip learned from hard experience. In a traffic accident, the FIRST thing to do (if possible) is to take a picture of the other car’s tag with your cell phone in case he decides to run before the cops get there (happened to my wife).

I had some road raging asshole cut in front of me and rake the front of my car with his pickup bed, then he tried to haul ass from the scene. I caught him, he pulls into a dark parking lot, gets out and acts like he’s about to pull a gun. I call 911, the cops arrive and he lies his ass off saying I intentionally plowed my expensive sports car into his Pickup. Puh fuckin’ lease. The cops tell me without any witnesses it’s his word against mine. They knew I was telling the truth, told me so but said legally there was nothing they could do.

Good for you for sticking around as a witness. I’d give anything if someone had done that for me.

At least one game-theory study showed that traffic runs smoothest of all when we treat other drivers politely until they act aggressively, but punish them consistently when they do break the rules. No cite, but it was in the national news a few years back.

I had a somewhat similar situation occur in suburban St. Louis once. I was in the outer lane of a section of road in which two lanes eventually merge into one. Well in advance of the merge point, I tried to move right, into the inner lane. A guy in that lane edged up, preventing me from moving over safely. I tried speeding up in order to get into the lane and leave enough room between us. The guy sped up, blocking me, which was the first point that I was aware that he was intentionally doing this.

So, I then slowed down, and the guy did likewise. I exaggerated my slowing down until both of us were going about 10 miles an hour. I was in a car with much better acceleration than he was, so when I stood on it at that point, there was no way for him to prevent me from getting in.

Eventually, the road opened up to two lanes in our direction again, and he sped up and got beside me, clearly freaking out. At a light, he took off ahead of me. A few minutes later, I passed him sitting on the side of the road and pointing a handgun at me. Fortunately, he chose not to fire it at me.

In another incident, also in suburban St. Louis, a guy rear ended me, and then decided he’d try to take off down a side road to get away. I chased him down in order to get his plate number. When I got close enough to do so, he pulled over and got out. He gave me a name, address and number that he had written down on a slip of paper. After we parted, I happened to flip over the slip of paper, and it was a sort of receipt, but it had a different person’s name and number on it. I happened to pass a cop sitting in a parking lot, and he ran the plate number for me. It came back with the name of the person on the receipt, and not the name and contact info the guy had written on the back. The idiot gave me a fake name on a receipt with his real name, all while having to know that I also got his plate number.

Og forbid my husband should ever hear that. He’s been “teaching” people to drive for years. You’d think everyone around here would be good at it by now.

I would sympathize with the OP had he not contributed to the cheapening of the meaning of “angst”. Kids these days just don’t appreciate how essential that word really is!

We did, but nobody used it so it’s been lost to the ages.