I was just thinking about … Men in pick-ups
By Barbara Polan
Men driving pick-up trucks are the drivers most prone to road rage. Yes, yes, yes, I know that generalizations are wrong; isn’t that statement itself a generalization? To temper my thesis, let me clarify … I know a man who drives a pick-up considerately: my beloved brother, who is a sweet man, a carpenter who uses his truck for both business and his personal life. I know from experience that he does not turn into a monster while driving – neither during work nor other parts of life.
As a disabled driver, I always get anxious when a man in a pick-up is behind me. Even though I have an adapted car to compensate for my paralysis, took remedial driving lessons, and was required to retake my road test after 30 years of driving accident-free, men in pick-ups generally have something to correct about my driving skills. No one other than a man in pick-ups has ever honked, screamed, sworn or revved their engines at me. While some do a subset of those, two have even done all.
It has usually been related to my timid left turns. I know – and OTs, PTs, my driving instructor, husband and friends who have had strokes agree – that if I were in an accident, it would be deemed my fault, no matter what the circumstances: I would have had too slow a reaction time, been unable to turn my head far enough to see, or some other nonsense. Given that, I am a cautious driver. At a left turn with poor visibility, I will not take my chances and assume no one is coming around the curve/obstruction and just gun it around the corner. Yes, I’ll sometimes creep out into the intersection, but then there’s a bozo approaching who thinks I’m going to pull all the way out in front of him. More swearing and honking.
One of the worst “Get off the road!” responses came while I was waiting for a million bikes in a bicycle fundraiser who were taking up the lane I wanted to turn left into. Yes, it took a long time and lots of patience to wait while they went through the intersection – and yes, I’m sure the man in the pick-up behind me was far more important and hurried than those irksome bike riders. Apparently the pick-up man could not see the bikes, so why was I the one who didn’t belong on the road?
In another case, one of the engine revs was in order to tear around me and make the left turn from the lane beside me; three oncoming cars (from 3 directions) had to stop for him and, that time, HE was the target of the honking – and heard-only-in-the-car ranting, perhaps. He was still right in his own head, I’ll bet, and even ranting at those honking drivers for considering him wrong.
For a while, I tried to take routes that did not have any left turns, but that meant I couldn’t get off the point where we live, even to go downtown. Not a reasonable option.
Of course, maybe I should be less cautious at those intersections. I have trouble thinking that to please the pick-up-driver behind me, I risk a car broadsiding me, perhaps breaking my paralyzed arm or leg, which would make it impossible to continue my recovery.
I’m taking my time. And not using my horn. Or even ranting silently against the person driving cautiously in front of me.
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