Waving without all of his fingers

By John Toth

The guy in the pickup truck was turning right. I was waiting for the light to change. He leaned out of the truck window as he turned and started cursing at me.

He yelled it really loud, over all of the traffic and engine noise. He then waved without using all of his fingers and sped away.

What brought all this on? I was doing the speed limit on a two-lane highway, and there was too much traffic for him to pass me. There was not enough shoulder for me to veer over, and let him pass.
How dare I do the speed limit?

I’ve noticed that drivers are showing less courtesy and more anger lately.

Maybe they have too much on their minds, too many problems to juggle, and they take it out on someone they don’t know.

Most speeders don’t save any time. Something along the way during their trip will slows them down, or even stops them long enough that they’ll lose the few minutes gained by speeding.

Two cars raced around me the other day. A minute later, I caught up to them at the red light.

While it’s bad here, we are angels compared to how men drive in many other parts of the world. I noticed when I drove on the streets of Budapest two summers ago that the main objective of male drivers was to win the race to the next light.

It’s like a mini drag race.

I stalled out once in my rental car and held traffic up for a couple of seconds. That was the first time I had driven a stick shift in 17 years.

I’ve never heard so many colorful curse words. These guys made up new words by stringing together several existing ones. The longer words had a much greater impact than if they had been used individually.

Those guys knew how to turn on the road rage.

The next day, I let my cousin drive the rented Fiat. He threatened to hit a truck next to him because it cut us off.
I had a 500-Euro deductible on this piece of junk, and it’s probably made out of cardboard. I looked at it too closely one day and put a dent in it.

I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but I had to mention that the rental car cannot be smashed on purpose into the truck.

It was actually nice to come home and again be exposed to the crazy drivers here. At least we are not totally insane.

However, as I mentioned earlier, there seems to be an increased aggressiveness here as well.

For those who are having problems controlling their temper behind the wheel, here are some pointers:

• Punching through the dashboard is not going to get you there faster.

• The bumper of the car in front of you is going to stop any attempt to simply go through the car.

• Cursing out the window is sort of low-class and dangerous. One day, the target may reciprocate with a barrage of gunfire.

• Let your wife drive. Women tend to behave better behind the wheel then men. Then you can complain about how long it’s taking to get there, and about everything else she is doing.

• If drivers like me are bothering you by obeying the speed limit, fly to Germany, rent a car and have at it. Get it out of your system. There is no speed limit on the highways there. However, their fatality rate is much higher than ours.

• Or, there are one or two stretches of road in Texas on which the speed limit is 80 or 85. That means 90, right?

Seriously. Chill out, person who waved at me without all of his fingers. Don’t make me write another column about your behavior. The next one could get ugly. I mean it. Scared you now, huh?