The Power of Being Rude

Sep 04
2009

Mike Hatton

Mike Hatton


I drive to work every day and every day there is some moron driving slow in the fast lane. The problem is always the same because there is no real way to tell the person that they need to switch lanes. Current attempts at fixing this situation involve honking, flashing lights, finding some way to pass the person in the right lane, making a rude gesture and driving one inch from their back bumper. Most of these methods aren’t really effective and in one case they are outright dangerous.

The problem is that you cannot tell the person who is driving like an idiot why they are screwing up morning traffic. All they see is someone very angry with them; they just chalk it up to another rude driver on the road. The sound of honking drives some people into a fit of rage, so now you have two insanely angry people on the road and no resolution to the actual problem.

Some people think they are doing the world a favor by driving slow. It has also been said that speed kills, but that may not always be true. http://www.hwysafety.com/hwy_montana_2001.htm

It is kind of funny, but I have seen many cases where a person starts getting older and their driving skills start going into the toilet. Invariably many people start to harass this individual, to prevent this terrible driver from someday killing someone. The older person then proclaims that people are much ruder than they used to be. Of course it did not occur to them that when they are driving the wrong way down a one way street, others might get upset.

I believe this problem could be solved with Bluetooth technology. Many cars are already equipped with a hands-free system. All it would need is a way for someone in another car to automatically say something to another car and have them have to listen. We could call this the “Emergency Mode”. We could get local governments to make this mandatory with the excuse that a policeman may need to say something to you on the road.

You may be thinking to yourself that you do not want a bunch of angry drivers yelling at you on the road, but think about it for a minute. Would you rather have some irate individual up on your bumper, honking like a mad man or would you prefer him to say to you, “You should move over into the slow lane and let the people behind you pass”? I would prefer the latter.

Of course some people would be afraid that someone in another car may be a little ruder than in my example and may say a few choice words that you do not want you kids to hear, but how is that different from being in public outside of your car? We are able to talk to people outside of cars and I have not seen society breaking down.

When we are inside of cars we suddenly become deaf to all of the people that we are interacting with and that may be the source of the anger. When you can communicate with people, you understand them more and understanding breeds kindness. If you found out that someone is learning how to drive or having an emergency or lost, you may treat them differently on the road.

Even if it causes more people to become jerks, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It turns out that jerks actually reduce traffic jams. http://physicscentral.com/buzz/blog/index.cfm?postid=3414795237807494042

Of course I do not really think that there is a chance that the government would enact a law to make you receive messages from other drivers, but I can dream can’t I?

2 Responses to “The Power of Being Rude”

    Roger says:

    Another good justification for inter-car communications would be to let someone know of a potentially unsafe condition. I can’t count the number of times I would have liked to have politely informed a driver that a tire was low, the gas door was open and the cap hanging down, some liquid was draining from the back of the car (gas?), some cargo was about to come loose, some cargo had fallen out of a truck bed, or that the safety chain on their trailer had come loose and was rattling on the road.

    Your solution might serve to reduce road rage. How much of the frustration is born of an inability to politely communicate with another driver.

    Query, how would you direct your communication at a particular car. Would you ‘beam’ your bluetooth pairing in one direction or another?

    While we are dreaming, perhaps your transmissions should be tagged with your vehicles license number and logged by the receiving car for potential retrieval by the authorities. That might force some measure of civility.

    Michael Hatton says:

    I was thinking it you could broadcast your message to all cars in the surrounding area and you would have to say something like “You in the red minivan…”

    That may have its problems though. Basing your messages on license plate would be useful, as long as you could say the license plate number and it would work. We do not want anyone typing and driving.

    Your idea about tagging the messages is a good one.

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