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Fire Breathing Dragons, A 3,000 Pounds Metal Beast and Giggling Babies

February 6th, 2016 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, are we irrevocably destined to be road warriors or is there a choice we can make?

Distracted driving is on everyone’s radar screen these days for obvious reasons. But there is another driving issue that I believe is an equally serious issue. It is called road rage.

There are different definitions for what constitutes road rage. I am referring to the explosive verbal and sometimes physical confrontations that erupt between vehicle drivers or between drivers and pedestrians.

Case in point: Earlier this week I stopped into a grocery store on my way home from work. A car horn sounded as I walked across the parking lot. (What is about that sound of a car horn that gets under people’s skin?)

Fifty feet away from me in the parking lot, I observed a minivan halfway around a corner. A pedestrian was standing beside the minivan berating the deriver in shouts loud enough for me to hear. The driver was responding but not loud enough for me to discern.

My guess is that the driver honked his horn at the pedestrian who carelessly crossed in front of his vehicle forcing him to brake abruptly. The pedestrian took offence and road rage ensued. A physical altercation did not erupt in this case but was only a heartbeat away occurring.

Why is this type of encounter happening so often these days? My take is that road rage is just the symptom. The stressed lives we in in our survival of the fittest society – overworked, always racing the clock, trying not to be the guy who gets screwed over – puts all of us on the razor edge of losing control at one time or another.

There is also something about operating 3,000 pounds of raw horsepower that flips a switch in our psyche. At a subconscious level, we become road warriors with a short fuse. The accumulated, simmering frustration from an assortment of annoyances gets channeled into that one encounter with an inconsiderate driver or pedestrian. The sum of the equation is road rage.

I confess that I am not immune. I grumbled and honked my horn at timid driver ahead of me who let several opportunities to turn left pass by waiting a for a 20 car length opening.

Automobile manufacturers pack a bewildering conglomeration of computer technology into the vehicles we drive these days. Admittedly, some of this technology is very helpful and enhances safety. But a chunk of it falls into the just-because-we-can category.

We would all be better served if these R&D experts turned their mind to technology that could monitor our stress level and automatically play a recording of babbling streams or giggling babies when our stress crosses into the red zone.

The fire breathing dragon of anger scorches anyone within its reach. Add in the power rush of driving a 3,000 pound metal beast and the result is road rage. The dragon cannot stop breathing fire. We have to find a way to stop stoking the dragon’s fire – and that responsibility rests with all of us. Take a moment, breathe and think of giggling babies – and don’t touch that horn!

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of “Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel” – double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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