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Rusty Saber

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by Joe McAdoo

Road rage has captured our attention. Actually, road rage is a euphemism for stupidity.

A driver does something stupid that somehow slows down an even more stupid driver.

Road rage manifests itself in one of three ways: Offended drivers shake their fists, yell obscenities or make obscene gestures the most intelligent of the responses, by the way. Some offended ones actually crash their cars into offending cars. The third is the typical American response today: The offended shoots the offending drivers.

Road rage isn't about MENSA behavior; it's about stupidity!

I have twice been the cause of Road Rage call me the "ragee," the ones I offended, the "ragers." I don't know what I did, but the ragers were pretty hacked off.

I was heading west on East Sunshine in the outside lane. Intending to turn left at Glenstone, I did something most Springfield drivers won't understand, I turned on my left-turn signal and changed to the inside lane. About three car lengths behind was a pickup truck in that lane. Under no circumstances could it be said I cut him off.

For reason or reasons unknown to me, the pickup driver became the rager, I, the ragee. He began honking his horn and, at first, I thought he was signaling his IQ. But this wasn't the case. A single digit IQ would have been a gross overstatement. It was an obscene gesture! I half expected him to take out his trusty assault rifle and fire a few rounds across my bow.

I've absolutely no notion of what I did to set him off. Maybe he thought I tried to show him up by using my turn signal, something he may never have done. With his less-than-single-digit IQ, it may be that he didn't know he had turn signals.

My other road rage experience also came when I was using turn signals. Could turn signals cause road rage? Surely not. I was the fourth car in a turn lane, waiting to turn left. As often happens in Springfield, the turn arrow allowed only two cars to turn before going off.

The car in front, ignoring the "Yield on Green" sign, turned anyway, of course. A line of oncoming cars began flowing through the intersection. The lady behind me began honking (her horn, not her nose), waving her arms and screaming at me. She didn't flash her IQ, probably because she didn't have one.

I guess she thought I didn't have one either, and wanted me to turn in front of oncoming traffic so she could sneak through the intersection in the confusion caused by the collision. I'm stumped. Twice I've caused road rage; I have no idea how I did it. These incidents caused me to think about what would infect me with road rage.

I know what causes me to rant and rave. I just wouldn't exhibit the resulting low IQ behavior. Oh, I might utter a few unprintable phrases under my breath, but I wouldn't go beyond that.

Drunk drivers ignite my rage. The thought is terrifying that any car coming at me from any direction could be driven by someone stupid enough to operate a vehicle while drunk. It's a double whammy: The driver is too drunk and too stupid to be behind the wheel.

I rage when I see drivers, drunk or sober, foolishly risking their lives, those of their passengers and any innocent drivers in their way.

Recently, late at night, I was going east on Chestnut Expressway when I was passed by a small pickup, with four teenage boys in the back, going at what must have been 100 mph. The thought of the fate of the boys in the back of the pickup if the driver lost control sent chills up my spine.

A driver so stupid to drive that fast is stupid enough to lose control of the pickup. My rage grew as I thought of what might happen when the vehicle reached the upcoming intersection at Glenstone. Luckily, it was unoccupied.

I become a road rager when, on two-lane highways, cars pass other cars already traveling at or over the legal speed limit in no-passing zones. Likewise, drivers who tailgate on high-speed freeways set my blood to boiling.

I wish all of us, from the president of the United States on down, would be as concerned about curing road rage by getting stupid drivers drunk or sober off the streets and highways as we are about stamping out smoking ...

(Joe McAdoo is former chairman of the communication department at Drury College and a Springfield public relations consultant.)

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