The gas pedal is the one on the right

I like to consider myself fairly considerate to others, regardless of the situation. But there are times when the fact that others don’t show the same consideration makes me more than a bit cranky.

Particularly on the road. As I was stuck behind someone going 45 on Route 12 between Oxford and Norwich the other morning (you know, where the posted speed limit is 55?), I had plenty of time to reflect on a few of my biggest pet peeves of the road.

First and foremost is the type of driver I found myself behind that morning. Even though this behavior is not exclusive to a specific gender of age group, I call them “Grandma.” In part, because it cuts down on my use of colorful language. I say things like: “Come on, Grandma!,” “Get a move on, Grandma,” or “Are you kidding me, Grandma?” rather than what I really want to shout, which would be unprintable and earn me the No Daughter of Mine speech if my mother happened to be in the car.

I’m not sure what has these people convinced that driving 10 to 15 miles an hour under the speed limit is a good idea. Because it certainly isn’t about road conditions. Someone told me that AARP actually recommends seniors drive under the speed limit. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a corresponding increase in road rage incidents involving that age group.

I’ve also heard that people do this because of gas mileage. I’m not sure how much they think they are saving, but there is certainly a cost to the rest of us. Because in this day and age, time is money.

It has crossed my mind on occasion that perhaps the perpetrators of this grievous driving habit get some kind of perverse joy out of torturing the rest of us. If that’s the case, I fall into their hands on a daily basis.

It seems to happen most often when I’m on my way to work in the morning. I’m not sure what they’re doing out driving at 6 a.m. or so, but I’m not up that early for my health. I have places to be, people!

Of particular aggravation is a subset of this Grandma group, which I refer to as “dyslexi-drivers.” They’ve got it backwards. They lollygag through the 55 mile per hour zones at 10 to 15 miles below the posted speed, but when they hit a reduced speed zone through a hamlet or village they actually speed up.

That’s the point at which I tend to develop a twitch over my left eye, and contemplate joining the ranks of another one of my least favorite drivers - The Tailgater.

We’ve all had one of these monsters behind us. For some reason they feel the need to surgically attach themselves to our rear bumper, leaving just millimeters of leeway, they’re lights glaring into our windows and reflecting in every mirror. It’s so distracting, that we end up paying more attention to what is happening behind us than what is going on in front. God forbid we actually have to break for anything, because if we do, the moron right on our tail will be in the back seat.

The only thing worse than having one of these road bullies behind us, is actually driving in the car with one. It’s mortifying. In these situations, I basically turn into my mother. There is a lot of phantom braking, pleas to slow down and, when all else fails, panic attack.

I guess not everyone had Mr. Todaro as a driver’s education teacher, because if they did, they would know about the 2-second rule. Maybe they should sign up for a remedial class.

And while they’re at it, they need to brush up on what to do when confronted with a four-way stop.

I’m not sure why this is so complicated for some people. You stop, and then take turns going. Maybe they missed the lesson on ‘taking turns’ in Kindergarten. I believe it was covered right after ‘sharing.’

No matter how irritating any and all of the above are, it doesn’t make sense to lose your cool about it. Road rage is not the answer. In fact, those who suffer from it are also on my little list of driving pet peeves.

That’s not to say I don’t get all wound up about it some times. My family, friends and co-workers can all probably attest to the fact that I do. They’re who I vent to when someone or something has gotten me all riled up. But once I vent, I feel a whole heck of a lot better.

Until the next time I get stuck behind someone going 40 on Route 12 all the way to Norwich, anyway.

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