Saturday, January 24, 2004

Road rage

The worst part of road rage is the one-on-one aspect when the cops show up.

I took both Julian and Cordelia to visit my mom in Connecticut today, followed by a trip over to Brewster for his hockey game. Nothing eventful happened during the game, or for much of the drive home.

Then, we're making good time down the Hutchinson Parkway when a guy suddenly swerves around a car in front of him and pops in front of us in the left lane, a few inches from my front bumper. I do what any self-respecting driver would do - I lay on the horn for a few seconds and flash my high beams at him. His response is to slam on his brakes until he's going about 20 mph in the left lane of the highway. I see that he has birthday balloons in his sedan, and at least one
child in the back seat.

Okay, so I'm dealing with a psycho. The first order of business when dealing with a psycho on the highway is to not give him any chance to do something crazy to you. I figured that he'd be slamming on his brakes again, so I thought that the best plan of action was to get around him. I moved to the right. He moved in front of me. So I moved back left, and when I was just about next to him he suddenly lined me up and swerved into me. Nearly ran me off the road.

Okay, this isn't good. I stayed right behind another car for a while, hoping that this guy wouldn't do anything stupid if there wasn't enough space to cut in front of me. He took off a little bit in the center lane, but when he saw me catching up on the left side he slowed down and swerved at me a second time. This isn't good. I have two kids in my car. This guy has, I now saw, a wife and two kids in his car. And he's going nuts and trying to kill me.

I moved into the center lane and slowed down. He got in front of me and slowed down further. I finally figured that I just had to get ahead of him and pull over at the McDonald's ahead on the Hutch. From behind him, I signalled left to get him to sneak over that way, then pulled right instead and went past him as he was leaning the other way. We were neck-and-neck, and I looked over and made eye contact at him and his wife. I opened my window and yelled "Why are you trying to kill me?" He sped up a bit, swerved hard into me, and slammed into my car going at highway speeds. My side mirror snapped back. My car almost went up on two wheels. I took out my cell phone.

He immediately jumped in front of me and exited on Pelham Parkway. I dialed 911 and called them to tell them that a guy had just tried to kill me three times, but they couldn't hear anything I was saying and they hung up on me. I kept following him - I was going to make sure he didn't get away. After a couple of blocks, he pulled over on Stillwell Avenue and I pulled up about 10 feet behind him.

I called 911 again, and said that this guy had intentionally tried to sideswipe me three times in a row. The guy came out and approached my door. I opened my window, and yelled "Why the fuck did you just try to kill me and my children? You've got kids in your car what the hell is WRONG WITH YOU?" He shot me an especially blank look and said "Is everyone okay?" Cordelia says that she's really scared, and has to go to the bathroom.

A few minutes later, the cops arrived. They took my story, then took the other guy's story. Which, of course, involved an honest mistake on his part, not seeing me when he changed lanes to exit the highway. So he's lying to the cop to save his hide. Then he begs not to file an accident report.

The cop talks to me, explains that I've got less than $500 damage on my car and that my rates would go up and I wouldn't get past the deductible. The guy's got significant damage to his car. If they take the report it's going to be me against him, and there's no way to tell which story is true. So I decide that he's just cost himself several hundred dollars, his wife is going to be all over him for putting her life and their kids' lives at risk, and I'll save money. Sure, he should be in jail now for assault, but I'm not getting that because the damn state couldn't be bothered to put full surveillance cameras every 1/10 mile down the Hutch.

Plus, I got his license plate, New Jersey PXR 934. I'll be tracing him and getting his name to the top of google, associated with this story. A nice little legacy!

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