Vigilante Driving Justice

This morning, I became that which I hate.

While driving in, I noticed in my rear-view mirror a tan Buick flying up the road behind me, it in the left lane and me in the right lane.

Flying, I tell you.  Grrr, I tell myself.  Stupid maniac drivers.

So I got over in the left lane.

I needed to anyway as my turn was coming up soon.  I didn’t cut the Buick off, mind you, and I put my blinker on.  He probably didn’t even need to brake, I did it so early.  But yeah, I wanted to put my car in between his car and wherever the hell he felt the need to speed to.

So the Buick, pissed, I’m sure, moved over to the right lane to try to pass me on the right before that lane became a turn-only lane.

So I ground my foot down into the gas pedal all, “Uh. Uh.  Jerk.  I don’t care that I just paid $4.09 a gallon for this gas that I’m wasting.  I will show. you.”

The Buick, surely VERY pissed by now, was forced to return to the left lane, only this time BEHIND me.

Hah!  Take that, jerk.

While we meandered down the one-lane street for a bit, the Buick was on my ass.  I mean, ON. MY. ASS.  despite the fact that I was going 10 mph over the speed limit and I thought, gee, I hope I haven’t invited any road rage into my life with this vigilante driving justice I’ve suddenly decided it is my duty to mete out.

I ran a few evasive maneuvers through my head.  Just in case the bullets started flying.   I started noting street names.  Just in case I needed to tell the cops where I was when the bullets started flying.

When finally we hit the Parkway, when finally the Buick was free from my bumper, when finally the Buick could get around me (which mind you, I was now driving 70 mph) I turned to look as it passed, thinking that I wish I was the kind of person who wasn’t afraid to flip other drivers off, but realizing I AM afraid, I instead resigned myself to a “you suck” glare as the driver passed.

That’s when I noticed the driver was a 75-year-old white-haired lady driving what appeared to be her 13-year-old granddaughter.

Yeah.  I showed her.


  1. JP
    July 7, 2008 9:23 am

    Drive right pass left its a state law. What’s worse are people who hang out in the left lane. Drivers who get up on you in the right lane without passing a real hazrd, but hanging out in the left lane is to me at least as big a hazard then somebody flying around traffic in the left.

  2. deebee
    July 7, 2008 9:25 am

    She was probably late for her cateract removal appointment.

  3. Lyon Advocate
    July 7, 2008 9:44 am

    Driving tests every two years once you hit 70. The AARP will never allow it, but it has to happen.

  4. Fan on his own dime
    July 7, 2008 9:46 am

    If someone wants to drive faster than me, I just let them go by and I expect the same from others. It seems to help the overall flow of traffic. I’d be willing to bet that what you just did is THE leading cause of road rage.

  5. Brian
    July 7, 2008 9:52 am

    JP, God (Allah, Christian God, Jewish God, Satan, whoever you pick) bless you! If people would obey this law, which I think most people don’t even realize exists at all, driving would be at least 30 percent less aggravating. Then we could work on people who don’t signal (or people who signal as they’re turning like the wheel won’t move unless they pull the signal lever that moment), people who don’t take turns at stop signs, people who hit their brakes as they travel under a green light, people who slam on their brakes in traffic to get into another lane, etc. Add your own as you see fit.

    I get people who try to make points on the road all the time, but they’re usually going under the limit. If I get one of these yahoos who does this to me (because unlike the point you were trying to make, PittGirl, I think others refuse to let people pass or speed to keep people out because they believe they are in some sort of competition), if the person then goes the limit, I’m fine. If the person then begins slowing down or braking, I get mad again because we are trying to get from point A to point B, alive. Not trying to score points in some imaginary game or prove what big men and women we all are by proving … something. It’s just so aggravating.

    I guess, PittGirl, you probably just should have let this person be an irresponsible douchebag and let well enough alone. Faster drivers are supposed to be in the left, and even if they appear to be maniacal in their driving, at least the person picked the correct lane to do this. Having a young child in the front seat while driving this way is ridiculous, I agree, but someone will catch these people eventually. Luckily no one died, you know?

  6. Brian
    July 7, 2008 9:55 am

    One more thing: this Smooth Operator law that’s being enforced probably results from the minions of poor drivers unaware of road laws who have to be dealt with in order to get to your destinaiton. If everyone obeyed (or were aware of) traffic laws, I bet road rage would drop dramatically. State police, if they must punish people under this law, also need to look at the other causes of what leeds to constant lane switching and such. I’m fine with red light/stop sign violations and excessive speeding being tagged. But we also need to crack down on violators who don’t know what’s going on when driving. I think everyone needs re-tested every 5 years on just the laws alone.

  7. CS Keys
    July 7, 2008 10:13 am

    Can’t support PittGirl on this one, sorry.

  8. sunshine
    July 7, 2008 10:15 am

    There is a post on my blog about being scared for my life and what it turned out to be an old woman on my ass… sacred I was… what a nut… also check out this link about a person in the City of ours that suffered from road rage… although we may want to do what she did but I think we like to keep our wits about ourselves…

  9. sunshine
    July 7, 2008 10:16 am

    On my blog it is listed as Granny road rage.. older post

  10. unsatisfied
    July 7, 2008 10:20 am

    I agree with some of the other posters here, PG — shoulda just left the old gal alone. it’s not worth it.

    not to sound like andy rooney — but, one thing that ticks me off is something that occurs in the construction zone on 79 between the route 65 exit and franklin park. going north, there are two lanes in which 18-wheelers and such are supposed to be in the left lane instead of the right. (as far as I can guess, this is ususally because the right lane in such a setup usually includes the soft shoulder, which would be bad news for a heavy vehicle.) this is ok with me.

    what is NOT ok with me is that the slower moving cars usually still occupy the right lane.

    so, what you usually have in the left lane is a convoy of 18-wheelers and a right lane full of slow movers. meanwhile, relative lead foots like me (guilty as charged, but I’m pretty reasonable through construction zones) have nowhere to go.

    my solution: put ALL slower traffic into the left lane and make the right lane more like the way the left lane SHOULD be in JP’s post above — for the faster (yet legal speed) traffic.

  11. pittgirl
    July 7, 2008 10:28 am

    Dear readers,

    While you’re busy reprimanding me for what I did, please note that the point of the post was:

    1. I became that which I hate.
    2. I should have just let her pass.

    I already get it.

  12. Mark Denovich
    July 7, 2008 10:29 am

    It’s not testing that’s needed. (It’s either pointless (PA’s current test) or unnecessarily arbitrary (UK’s licensing scheme.) Neither seems to result in better drivers. The biggest gains seem to come from the culture.

    What is it about Americans that predisposes us to vigilante driving justice? Maybe someone is going fast, because they want to go fast… let them by, and you won’t have to deal with them again. Everyone is safer/happier. But our need for justice won’t allow it.

    Contrast to the similarly aggressive, but more efficient Germans. I drove from the UK to Germany and back two weeks ago. (I took my Lotus Elise to the Nurburgring) I was driving fast… when I was on the Autobahn, really fast. But it was so easy… it was delightful. People got the hell out of my way. No drama… and I got the hell out of the way when people where going faster than me (a little humbling to be doing 120mph and get passed by a big Merc station wagon like I was standing still.) And when that big Merc got past me… it moved back out of the fast lane… just in case something might have been coming along even faster.

  13. spoon
    July 7, 2008 10:38 am

    I can admit to being in your situation more than once and each time it gets harder to let the person go. I see this all of the time on the turnpike and driving 279/79 by Cranberry. In most cases it’s either 1) woman on a cell phone chain smoking and doing 5 other things 2) father in a minivan who thinks this is NASCAR 3)young kid with the tricked out pinto trying to be all Fast n Furious.

    they all do the same thing, bob and weave through traffic. Honestly sometimes you really don’t have the room to move and if you’re in a jam during rush you’re not going anywhere. We’ve all been in that situation. Yet these jerks find it important to ride your ass to move when you can’t.

    last weekend I had a minivan on my ass while traveling the turnpike. I saw him hauling ass so I moved to the right. Well he followed me. No matter which lane I was in he stayed on my ass as though I was a blocker. the trucks and cars ahead of me saw what was going on and when he did try to pass me would move over and block his lane. In the end the minivan gave me the finger and I gave him this –

  14. Bulldog
    July 7, 2008 10:53 am

    Thanks to “unsatisfied” because I never knew why they put the trucks in the left lane in that construction zone (and others). Keeping them off the “soft” shoulder is definitely a good idea.

    I totally get what you’re saying about the slow moving vehicles in the right hand lane and I can see where your annoyance would be valid with slow moving vehicles in the right hand lane, but the legal speed limit in that zone is 45.

    I have a problem with the “speeders” being in the right hand lane while the slow moving vehicles (obeying the speed limit) and the trucks are relegated to the left hand lane. The problem is that if I as a speed limit obeying driver am in the left hand lane, then I have to cut across the right hand lane to exit at Mt Nebo, which would then entail crossing traffic that is going 65 mph or even faster. That’s not a trick that I want to try and pull off every day, so I stay in the right hand lane going the speed limit or no more than 5 mph over (at 50 mph). I’d rather not do that, but I’ve actually been forced to miss my exit by cars flying by in the right hand lane that wouldn’t let me over to exit.

    If drivers didn’t insist on driving 65-70 through a 45 mph construction zone it wouldn’t be much of an issue

  15. Maxie
    July 7, 2008 11:03 am

    My grandmother drives like maniac too. I guess once a speed demon, always a speed demon.

  16. NY Luvs Pitts
    July 7, 2008 11:12 am

    I thought you were going to say it was one of your self-united husbands. HAH!!!

  17. bucdaddy
    July 7, 2008 11:13 am

    Must confess, there’s a driving point I make from time to time: I HATE it when people treat the turn lane like a third driving lane, and get in it a half mile back from the intersection and roar up to the turn, flying past stupid me and others sitting there with our turn signals on, waiting to move left into the turn lane where you’re SUPPOSED to. I see one of these coming is when I break my own rule and move left immediately, and thereafter take my sweet time easing up to the light. Cool your jets, asshole. Wait your turn.

    I also take a route to work that’s a long single lane that leads up to a T intersection, with a very long right hand turn lane beside it. Traffic will often back up from the T for maybe a quarter mile at rush hour, which inspires idiots to drive on the shoulder to get to the turn lane. I need to turn right too, but I wait until there’s an lane for that purpose. So occasionally, when I see somebody roaring up the shoulder, I’ll flip on my signal, ease off the edge of the road and straddle the white line, see if anybody wants to drive up the ditch.

    No, I’m not proud, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If these people roared their carts to the front of a long checkout line at the grocery store and insisted everyone let them in, we’d justifiably beat the crap out of them, stuff them in a buggy and jam it in the return rack. If they have to cool it for 10 seconds on the road behind me or PittGirl, they’re getting off f***in’ easy.

  18. retiredguy
    July 7, 2008 11:42 am

    PittGirl got owned by a studdybubba in a buick?

    This morning, while driving my wife to work (in my buick), I was sitting in traffic at a red light and in my left mirror, I can see a car coming FAST on the wrong side of the road. The car appeared to be trying to make it into the left turn lane (which still had a green arrow), before striking oncoming traffic head on. The driver made it into the lane, but did not make the light, so her headlong rush into oncoming traffic was all for naught.

    I did enjoy slowing slightly as I passed her (a young woman of about 23) and laughing loudly into her open passenger window.

  19. SK
    July 7, 2008 12:10 pm

    How can anyone not agree with what you did and not understand it. Why is it that everyone has to be civilized? Those that are flying up in another lane aren’t following the rules. Why do we HAVE TO every time.

    There is a turn off of 51 up to Mt. Washington that I take to go home on a regular basis. At the top of the hill, left lane goes left, right lane stays straight. I absolutely refuse to let someone who started at the light at the bottom on the left side get past me and move into the right lane. It urks me, drives me nuts, get in the right friggin lane if you want to go straight at the top like everyone else did. This is my only pet peeve on the road, MOST of the time I’m the curteous driver but sometimes you just have to let it out.

  20. Caryn
    July 7, 2008 12:20 pm

    Mark D – I totally agree with you & the vigilante justice theory. I drive long distance and locally a lot, and I am a fast driver (and yes, I know I’m using more gas) but I give people time to move over as I come up behind them. It is the ones who ignore every opening to move to the right and let me pass that are either ignorant or vigilantes. It is not their job to enforce speed limits, but it IS the law to move over and not drive in the left lane (it is passing only). Those drivers force people to pass on the right and many times they are going slower than the speed limit. And yes, I slow down in work zones, use my turn signals religiously, check my mirrors and blind spots all the time AND move into the left lane when the police or a tow truck are on the side (before that even became law). I notice very few people doing that. People need to focus on THEIR driving and following the rules and not worry about others.

    BucDaddy – you ARE a vigilante and kind of a jerk when you are behind the wheel from what you describe. I also disagree with people roaring up the emergency lane, etc. But when it is only 25-30 feet before the exit, traffic is stopped, and they drive at a normal (safe) speed that is not a big deal. You have road rage from the sounds of it. Chill out and enjoy your drive.

  21. Kathy
    July 7, 2008 1:07 pm

    Mark – You are making me nostalgic for Germany driving. I lived there for 5 years and completely agree. They drive really fast on the Autobahn but they do not cruise in the left lane — EVER!! Once they pass, they get over. It was such pleasant driving. I have been back in the states for 10 years now and the idiotic driving that Americans do still drives me nuts.

    My big pet peeve – 3 lane highways where no one wants to use the right lane at all! I guess they don’t want to be bothered with the traffic merging onto the highway, but it creates a mess where people are using the middle lane as the slow lane and the right and left lanes to pass.

  22. Brian
    July 7, 2008 1:35 pm

    SK, you said: Those that are flying up in another lane aren’t following the rules. Why do we HAVE TO every time.

    With all due respect, because not following the rules make said driver a jerk, too. Maybe a different kind of jerk, but a jerk nonetheless. Just because an ignorant moron broke the rules doesn’t mean you should double up on the stupidity.

    Caryn, I could not agree with you more, and you sound like the exact same kind of driver as me. Sadly, though, we do have to worry about other people at times. Defensive driving. Because there are so many clueless people (like on my lunch break, the lady on her cell phone in front of me leaving a shopping center who up and U-turned, no signal, and almost came back around and plowed into me) we have to protect ourselves too.

  23. Julie
    July 7, 2008 1:57 pm

    You know, PG, I kind of tend to do the same thing once in awhile, when I’m in a really spiteful mood. Providing I give the idiot ample time to slow down to a reasonable pace, I have no problem letting them know that there’s no need to be driving like you’re in a race (with no one else, to boot). I don’t know anyone who’s been in an accident as a result of road rage, but I could probably name almost a dozen people who have either died or been injured as a result of excessive speeding.

    What really bugs me is when moron drivers will continue to speed up even while approaching a red light. I always laugh, because the person who just passed me and cut off someone else is now sitting at the same light as all the other drivers who decided to go the speed limit.

  24. bucdaddy
    July 7, 2008 2:38 pm


    25-30 feet? No big deal. That’s two-three car lengths. That’s not who I mean. I am talking about people driving IN the turn lane and ON the shoulder for, like, a quarter mile, making themselves a hazard to patient people who might want to use those lanes properly, all because THEY don’t have time to wait in line with the riff-raff.

    I’ve nearly been slammed from behind by these people simply because I was moving left or right where and when I’m SUPPOSED to move left or right. So once in awhile I cool ’em off a little, instead of pulling them through the driver’s window and pitching them into the jaggerbushes, which is what they deserve.

    If that makes me jerky, call me


  25. bucdaddy
    July 7, 2008 2:40 pm

    BTW, I’ll be a traitor to my gender and note that by far the most piggish bad drivers I see are men in pickup trucks.

  26. peter ballantine's son
    July 7, 2008 3:33 pm

    Very mature decision to put your life and others in jeopardy. For what?

    One of the earliest lessons my state policeman father taught me about driving is it’s not a game, he scraped enough people like you off the asphalt to realize that.

    Drive right, pass left and respect that driving is the most dangerous thing you’ll do, or realize the consequences.

    Agree with the earlier post. Beware of these demographics: Males between 20 and 50 who drive in work trucks or vans around quitting (or happy hour) time. They will not respect the laws that are there to preserve our lives.

  27. PL
    July 7, 2008 3:42 pm


    Are there any lane markings at the traffic light that indicate the left-turn only lane at the top of the hill? Not everyone drives your road on a regular basis, and there are a lot of traffic patterns in this city that seem to require a certain degree of precognition.

  28. gunnlino
    July 7, 2008 4:40 pm

    You bunch of self righteous pilgrims, passing judgement like you are so pure and having never cast the first stone!
    Read the entire statement, one word at a time , each and every word then perhaps you will fully understand, bunch of dimwits.
    Besides it’s all the DOTs fault for not building anything other than a two lane road in this our lovely behind the time metropolis.
    So there, Pbbbbhhhhh

  29. Pensrule
    July 7, 2008 5:45 pm

    Simple, Some times I am in a rush.. so YOU GET OUT OF MY WAY.. sometimes YOUR in a rush and I am not. I WILL GET OUT OF YOUR WAY.
    To many people drive while stupid in the passing lane.

  30. James Foreman
    July 7, 2008 6:08 pm

    I call those people “passholes.”

    It fits.

  31. bucdaddy
    July 7, 2008 10:17 pm

    Heh. Good one.

  32. SK
    July 8, 2008 7:10 am

    I’m a little late on this, but..
    Brian – You’re right. Crappy drivers anger me sometimes and for some reason I feel it’s occasionally my job to put them in their place and not let them do what they are trying. My sweet mommy raised me to be the better person, it just doesn’t always work with me.

    PL – There are not lane markings at the bottom. If it were people at the top trying to get over, no problem. I am speaking of the people that are first in line at the bottom of the hill, floor the gas immediately to try to pass people because they think everyone will drive slower than what they want to go.

  33. Brian
    July 8, 2008 8:20 am

    SK — Hahaha. Yes, I know for a fact I don’t always do the right thing either. But you know, I try. We try, damn it.