Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Road Rage!

I thought I had seen it all on Phoenix freeways, but this one takes the cake and puts the icing on the top.
I was cruising back from our main branch on I-10.  Heavy, heavy traffic.  Moving, though, maybe 55 mph, amazing traffic that thick was moving that fast.  I got off the transition to the Superstition freeway, but was observing a red, Chevy pickup behind me weaving in and out of traffic, making very aggressive moves, attempting to past everyone.

This isn't, actually, abnormal behavior to be seen on the freeways around here, there are many drivers that are in a big hurry and they don't care what risk they take in order to get ahead.  Well, I am in the inside lane.   That would be the "high speed" lane on 3 lanes on a huge ramp that curves around and turns in to the US 60 - Superstition Freeway.  If you don't believe the name of the freeway, you can just Google it.

Well anyway, there is a silver pickup coming up behind me in my lane.  The red pickup is 2 lanes over and jumps in front of a vehicle - cutting it off quite nicely I should add - and then, jumps into my lane.  The problem? He cuts that silver pickup off so badly, the silver pickup has to slam on the brakes and it starts fishtailing from such heavy braking and attempting to avoid a rear-end collision with that red pickup.

Here's where the road rage beings, folks.  I have never seen anything like it except in the movies and forgive me of my telling of the story isn't NEAR at vivid and unbelievable as what actually happened in real life this afternoon.  Only a video of it would adequately convey what happened.

The driver of the silver pickup becomes infuriated.  Not just mad or angry, he was raging mad.  He was pumping his fists and mouthing words which I can imagine the content.  He floors it, gets in the lane next from me, screams past the red truck after HE cut off a vehicle in his attempt to pay the red truck's driver some revenge. I'm glancing in my rear view while - driving my vehicle and paying attention to what's going in front of me.  In that millisecond of time that I looked ahead and then looked back, this driver of the silver truck was RIGHT on my bumper, slamming on his brakes to avoid rear-ending ME, because the red truck was RIGHT behind me in my lane.

This guy is driving like a madman, rage had overtaken him.  He was swerving back and forth for what seemed like a long time but in actuality was only a second or two while attempting to force the driver of the red truck to back off or force him into the emergency lane.  When he had accomplished that, he SLAMMED on his brakes!! The driver of the red truck is now in the emergency lane, his entire truck swerving all over the place, came within inches of slamming into the median concrete wall.  The driver of the silver truck then slows down even more and goes into the emergency lane, hitting his brakes hard again.

Now, we have 2 drivers that are enraged.  The dude in the red truck is going to have his revenge, even though it was his stupid, dangerous driving that started this nonsense in the first place.  Oh, and I didn't include all the smoke coming from screeching tires that are locked up!  Now, I had no choice, I wasn't going to get into this, I sped up and got over into the second lane.  The driver of the silver truck then accelerated and was coming up beside me, so the driver of the red truck REALLY sped up and was probably going 90 mph or more attempting to catch up, try to come around me, then come in front of me and then whatever was going to happen next.  I was having NO part of that, so I sped up even more, which unintentionally gave the driver of the silver truck next to me room to move over and...........do what?

Cut that red truck off again!!!  That silver truck was going WAY slower than that red truck.  The driver of the red truck slammed on his brakes again to avoid a collision, but he was going so fast it sent him going SIDEWAYS on the freeway!!  I watched that pickup slide sideways over 3 and a half lanes - smoking tires and all -  we were off the ramp at that point and the freeway widens out to 6 lanes - I had no clue how that truck did not roll over.  I did have a clue how it didn't run into any other vehicles: everyone else driving out there saw what was going on and no-one else wanted any part of it, either.  They were all slamming on their brakes to make sure they weren't going to be a part of a potential fatality at this point.

This wasn't getting out of control, it WAS out of control.  I pulled out my cellphone and acted like I was dialing 911.  The red truck sped up in front of me and was pointing at his license plate and also the silver truck's - they were both in front of me but stuck in traffic at this point, separated by 1 lane between them with vehicles that they could not penetrate.  I was able to come up beside them and acted like I was talking on the phone and making hand movements and looking back and forth both vehicles.

I backed off and acted like I was reading license plate numbers.  Look, I could have called 911 but by the time police are there, the damage is done.  Let's just get the fear that cops might even be coming and that someone is going to follow them and maybe that will put a chill on this situation.   They weren't just putting their own lives in danger out there, which is bad enough, they were putting a lot of other drivers and vehicle occupants lives at stake as well, not the least of which was mine since that driver of the silver truck almost slammed into the rear of the pickup I was driving.

I made it VERY obvious to both of them what I was doing and suddenly?  One of them pulled over to the outside lane and the other stayed in the inside lane.  The driver of the silver pickup backed WAY off, slowing down to probably around 60 mph and the driver of the red pickup was going around 65.  After a mile or so, the silver pickup sped up but did not change lanes.  Another 2 miles after that, the driver of the silver pickup moved over to the outside lane and the driver of the red pickup moved to the number 2 lane.  Silver got on the same ramp as I was getting on to transition to the Loop 101 south while the red pickup continued east on the Superstition.

You wonder why I don't want to live in the Phoenix area.  I see this kind of stuff frequently on the freeways, though nothing ever this exaggerated.  Aggressive, outrageous driving acts abound all day long.  People treat each other like they are at war when they are driving around here.

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