Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Oct. 2, 2003
"Get thee out of the way!"
I try not to get frustrated when I drive, but sometimes I don't succeed. Drivers zipping back and forth from one lane to another, stepping on the gas as the light changes from yellow to red or going 45 miles per hour in school zones tick me off.
Sometimes I attribute my frustration with being middle-aged because both younger and older drivers can make me crazy.
Younger ones pull up next to me in their fancy red cars or big pick-ups with their music so loud it practically rocks me out of my vehicle.
Older ones pull out in front of me and creep along at such a slow pace that I want to shout, "Not to be disrespectful, but are you going to get up to speed ANY TIME THIS CENTURY?"
Drivers who are distracted bug me, too. I usually try to mind my own business and ignore what other drivers are doing - or try to get as far away from them as possible
The other day was almost more than I could handle, though. I was in the right lane of Anderson Avenue headed west past the University when the traffic stopped for a red light. I looked at the drivers around me. The driver in front had a cigarette dangling from his fingers as he stuck his arm casually out the window. The one beside me was eating an ice cream cone. The driver behind me had her ear glued to a cell phone as she twirled her hair.
Other distractions - rowdy passengers, dogs riding on their owners' laps with their tongues hanging out the window, kids unbelted in their seats - drive me to distraction, too.
A recent study in Virginia identified the top driving distractions as the following: rubbernecking (looking at a crash, vehicle, other traffic, etc.); driver fatigue; looking at scenery or landmarks; passenger or child distraction; adjusting radio or changing CD or tape; cell phone usage; eyes not on the road; inattentiveness or daydreaming; eating or drinking; weather conditions; insect, animal or object entering or striking vehicle; looking at directions or a document, book, map or newspaper; and medical or emotional impairment.
The Web site where I found that information had a poll for people to list their reactions to distracted drivers. Among the options were: shout obscenities; make rude hand gestures; report the offenders to the police; cut them off to get their attention; honk your horn; get as far away as possible; or hold up a sign saying "just drive!"
I prefer the responses I saw on a card Art received from a relative. The card was titled "Amish Road Rage." The responses of the men driving their horses and buggies were much more civil and original than most I''ve seen or heard:
"Go raise a barn!"
"Get thee out of the way!"
"Step on it, Yoder!"
"Thy Mother wears Army bonnets!"
"Place it up thy butter churn!"
I think I'll remember those responses when I find myself getting frustrated on the road. They'll make me smile instead of grit my teeth.
There, now I feel better!
American Greetings card Art received from his second cousin Arden Newey.