Tonight was a certainly a first for me. I was just setting of on my way to Pflugerville to play volleyball when I was cut off by a minivan driver turning right on red (legal in the US, but not when someone—i.e. me—is coming through the junction). I honked my horn, muttered a few choice words, overtook them, and that was that.
A couple of turns later I was catching up with someone in a truck and thought I would be able to overtake before we came to a T-junction where I had to turn right. So I started to overtake, but the guy (I assume it was a guy) in the truck began to speed up too. One of those people, I guess, who doesn’t like to be overtaken. I probably should have backed off at that point, since the turn was coming up, but I judged that I could still overtaken in time, which I did, but I did leave it a bit close and he honked his horn at me as I pulled in front of him. Fair enough. I was in the wrong, and maybe the adrenaline was still pumping a little from the previous incident.
But the guy in the truck wasn’t willing to leave it there. As soon as we both had turned the corner, he overtook me, swerved in front of me and slammed on the brakes. I moved into the other lane, maintaining my speed and he swerved in front of me again. I changed lanes a third time–I didn’t want the guy on my front bumper randomly slamming his brakes on–but he moved over to block me again, even though I made no move to overtake him. I moved over again, and this time there was another car in my lane so he slowed until he was alongside, boxing me in. I didn’t think it was wise to look over, so I didn’t, but I couldn’t help wondering if this idiot was angry enough to do something really stupid. In Texas, you have to be careful, for obvious reasons.
Now we were heading towards the stop lights at a major junction (McNeil and Parmer), so I slowed down and got behind him again because I wanted to see him coming if he got out of the truck at the stop light. After more idiotic swerving from the truck driver where he almost took out another car cutting in front of him, we came to halt at the lights. Fortunately he stayed in his vehicle but unfortunately he was still going my way.
After the lights, he slowed once again to come alongside (probably to gesture at me, but I wouldn’t give him the pleasure of looking) until about another mile down the road he accelerated and deliberately cut me off one last time just before his left-hand turn. By this time he had long since ceased to annoy me anyway, so as I passed him I gave him a friendly wave and was on my way.
This sort of thing’s never happened to me before. Sure I’ve done some silly things when driving, and deserved the odd horn honked at me, but this idiot was throwing his two-ton truck around the road in front of me with reckless abandon, though I’m not sure what he thought he was trying to acheive. If he was trying to get under my skin he certainly didn’t succeed. I had no interest in escalating the situation and given that we were driving the speed limit, he wasn’t hampering my journey much anyway. I’m guessing he was probably just some muscle-bound kid with a tiny brain and insecure enough to think his manhood was impugned when someone had the temerity to overtake and cut him off.
Ah well. We won the volleyball, and I got a good workout, so the incident didn’t really spoil the evening. Still, it’s always a little worrying when you don’t know just how stupid someone hassling you with a two-ton truck is going to be.
Could be worse. During the last few months I drove Jeanne’s old Civic, I got scraped as an idiot road-rager tried to pass me into oncoming traffic on 38th heading west, realized he was about to get head-on-collisioned, and came back in, except he hadn’t gotten all the way past me yet. I then followed him as best as that little car could manage for a few minutes trying to get the license plate, and failed, but it was a funny chase scene for anybody who was watching… (’89 Civic Hatch chasing hick pickup truck).
Incidents like these are one of the things I definintely don’t miss about Austin. The worst problem we have here on Kwaj is someone weaving on their bike on the way home after a few too many. If they crash, it’s usually road rash and a lump on the head – serves them right 🙂