I used to be one of the calmest persons in the world. There could be an earthquake happening, and I would remain seated in my chair and say, “Oh, please, nothing awful will occur to us.” But then, my dad decided to teach me how to drive when I was 18 years old, and everything changed.
I honestly did not know that it was possible either. I mean, I lived in a small town my entire life; there were only less than 300 people. And even if there was traffic, people were still waving and saying hi to everyone in their cars and letting others pass them by. However, my dad said, “You are going to college soon. You need to learn how to drive for yourself, especially since your going to a big city.”
That reality scared me initially because I knew how different my dad was while driving in a small town and the big city. Whenever he was back home, he was the nicest person, too, but once he entered the freeway, he was like a madman weaving in and out of cars, honking at everyone to let him pass. I thought that was barbaric, to be honest. I used to feel like there was a better way to get where you wanted to go, especially on a multiple-lane highway.
Road Rage Mode On
The first time I experienced road rage, I was alone in the car, on my way home for the holidays. It was also the first time I drove on the freeway without my dad to yell for me. While I was nervous, I told myself that I was a big girl already, and I could handle it independently.
So, I was cruising steadily on the highway. I felt calm because there were not many cars at the time. Everyone else must have gone home earlier to beat the traffic, and I was happy about it. That was until another car sped past me, clipping my side mirror.
The driver drove so fast that he managed to break the mirror cleanly from my car. The traffic police saw that and signaled us both to stop.
As I slowed the car down, I was in shock as I didn’t know how to approach the guy. Should I be mad at him? How could I school my reaction? However, all my blood went to my head when the man came out of his car with his brows furrowed as if he was ready to start a fight. I thought, “Screw it. You picked the wrong girl to mess with today. You would not be able to get out of this in one piece.”
I hopped out of the car and started berating the driver for being so reckless. The law enforcer tried to pipe in a few times, but I did not let them even get a peep. I was talking nonstop for five whole minutes until I ran out of breath and had to inhale. I was just livid at the other driver for not looking apologetic at all.
That was the start of my road rage. It made me feel like I had to stop being nice whenever I was on the road because the others might not be nice all the time. If someone honked incessantly behind me, for instance, I would honk back with the same intensity. If someone did not allow me to overtake, I would go faster, roll my window down, and give them the middle finger.
Road Rage Mode Off
I got the biggest scare of my life on the road when I bumped into a brand-new car in front of me. The reality was that it was my fault. I was too busy flipping through songs on the radio that I did not notice my foot letting go of the brake pedal. I only realized it when I heard the crunch of broken glass.
The other driver signaled me to pull over so that we could talk about it. I did as he asked, but I was focused on thinking of how I could insult the man more and get away with fixing his car. However, the guy got out before I could, and I saw that he had a gun holstered on his waist. That made me feel like ice-cold water just got poured over my head.
I ended up apologizing immediately and gave the driver my insurance agent’s number so that we could settle the matter and I could have his car fixed. Shaken, I went back home and told my parents that I needed counseling for my road rage stat. I did not want to find myself in that position again.
What I Learned
It turned out that I did not have anger management problems. Instead, I had some anxiety that I expressed through anger. It was weird, I know, but that’s what it was.
With the counselor’s guidance, I managed to handle my anxiety better. After all, my biggest fear was getting victimized on the road. The more I did counseling, the less I felt the urge to pick a fight with guys twice my size.
How I wish I learned about my anxiety sooner.