Matt Heath: Road rage? Don't be an embarrassing idiot!

Section
Blogs,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 3 April 2018, 12:42PM
Getty Images
Getty Images

I prevented a violent road rage incident last week. There could have been a serious injury or worse. Luckily I was there to help. I saved this dude and the best bit was the cowardly way in which I did it. I'll get to my method in a bit. But first. Let's talk about Kiwi road rage itself.

We all know someone who suffers from it. The stresshead who yells and bleets and bitches around town. Anyone who gets slightly in their way is an A-hole. Anyone driving below 60km/h can f*** off. Anyone lawfully parallel parking in front of them is a w***er.

To these people, the road is full of idiots who need to be tailgated and aggressively honked at.

This country is full of horn-riding tanty throwers. You may be married to one. Maybe it's your friend, father, sister or mother. You maybe one yourself. Whatever. Whoever. Wherever. Chill out.

It's a punishing and completely pointless way to behave. A waste of your energy. Do you really think it's your job to train the whole world how to drive? You're that perfect? You've never made a mistake on the road? Of course you have. So settle down. You're embarrassing yourself and your passengers. Not only that, you're also risking your life. One middle finger extension away from a tyre iron round the head from an even bigger psycho than you.

Road ragers think they're some kind of unbadged traffic officer. But generally their reaction to bad driving is worse than the bad driving itself. Take a quiet Sunday beer at one of the many al fresco establishments around Auckland. Happy people sitting enjoying the sun and the chat when suddenly some road rager blasts his or her stupid horn. Sits on it for 30 seconds. A driver has committed a tiny traffic infringement and BEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPP!!!!! Don't do that. Shut up! No one cares that you're angry. All you're doing is making hundreds of people look at you and think "d***head".

A normally quiet and wimpy person will drive around yelling, screaming honking and asking for a fight. Most of these agro drivers have never been in a scrap in their lives. They aren't street brawlers. Yet they risk it all. Before you honk your horn, or throw up the fingers or yell abuse, ask yourself: do I really want a fight? Because one day that's what will happen.

A friend of mine flipped off a driver in LA. The driver jumped out and put a gun to his head. My mate realised quickly being slightly annoyed at someone's driving isn't worth dying for. There aren't a lot of guns in New Zealand. But there are plenty of people a lot stronger and meaner than you.

Back to my anti road rage violence technique.

The other day I pulled up at an intersection in central Auckland. On the other side of the road two cars were pulled up in a bus stop. Both drivers were out. A big one and a small one. Both in their late 40s. The big one was abusing the hell out of the little one. He was grabbing him. Pushing him. I don't know who was in the wrong. But the little guy was about to get smacked in the face. I couldn't get out of my car. I was in the middle of a line of traffic at the lights. Plus I had my little boy with me. Everyone else was ignoring the situation. Looking forward like nothing was happening. I had to to do something. So I yelled ''aww cut it out''. They didn't. A major assault was imminent. Then it struck me. I'll shame them. So I pulled out my phone. ''Hey morons I'm filming you and putting it on the internet.''

It was like hosing down rioters. Both parties were back in their cars and out of there in seconds. Problem solved. Didn't even need to leave my car. In a flash they both realised how humiliating it would be to be outed as a road rage goon. Which is the point. Acting like that is embarrassing. Interestingly, in the heat of the moment, I had failed to actually press record. I was just waving a test from my dad at them. Luckily they didn't know that.

New Zealand roads are full of agro road ragers. If you're one, chill out, you're embarrassing yourself. If it's someone you know and love, call them out on their behaviour. A simple ''shut up you humiliating d***head'' will do. Better still, film them. Play it back. Maybe they'll see what the rest of the world sees.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.