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Are we really that angry? Probably!

POSTED November 1, 2017 9:37 a.m.
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One of the joys of spending any sort of time working in a media capacity is that sooner or later, your email address is going to end up on mailing lists that you never knew existed.

Sometimes they're informative - something that you write about will get you placed on a list of public relations handlers that will constantly feed you information on whatever topic may have been discussed.

And other times, they're added out of spite - I can't tell you how many political candidates that I would never vote for end up lobbying me for "last minute emergency funds" during election time because somebody thought it would be amusing to add my name as a supporter (and I'm delightfully waiting to see what happens after I admit this).

Almost 99 percent of the time they go straight into the trash, but every once in a while, there's a gem that warrants further discussion.

According to new data released by InsuranceQuotes.com, California has the second angriest drivers in the entire United States and trails only Hawaii - renowned for its constant gridlock and bevy of tourists unfamiliar with where they are going - and slightly ahead of New York.

Think about that for a second. The city with a million taxicabs and 20.2 million residents within its larger Metropolitan Area (although this includes New Jersey, which finished right behind New York), isn't quite as bad in terms of road rage as a city known for its picturesque sunshine and laid-back attitudes.

It's worth noting that this list was compiled by identifying the frequency of the hashtag "Road Rage" on social media, so it's by no means a comprehensive or even scientific finding.

But as I started to sit back and think about it - and the recent, local examples of the attitudes of drivers that I encounter on the road - it really made me think about how much of an issue it really is on a day-to-day basis.

Not every incident of road rage is like the one I encountered last year when a driver heading south on Highway 99 didn't like the fact that I approached behind him moving faster than he was, and slowing as I got closer.

It's worth pointing out that while I may have been, by the handbook definition, following too closely, I was far from riding his bumper like most people do on that roadway (subsequently designated one of if not the deadliest highway in the entire state) and never did anything that I would have considered unsafe. I simply slowed down as I approached and followed as we passed traffic together.

He didn't like this. In fact, his anger was so severe that he actually pulled over in the other lane once he had the space, slowed down, and made a throat-slitting gesture with his thumb before slamming on his brakes, cutting straight in behind me, and then proceeding inches off of my bumper for five miles or so while making gun gestures with his hand and waving his arms wildly.

It wasn't my best trip home.

This is obviously an outlier, but as anybody who has ever driven more than 30 miles from their house on a daily basis for work can tell you, people in this state will do nearly anything behind the wheel to keep their position in the living beast that is traffic.

And they'll do it all while eating breakfast, shaving, reading the newspaper, texting and talking on the phone - which is another issue entirely.

Do we deserve this infamous distinction as a state with some of the angriest drivers?

Probably.

But does that guy really need to be going the speed limit in the fast lane?

 

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