Where peace starts

EVIDENTLY RUDENESS IS ON THE RISE. A research study released this week reports that busy lives, overcrowding in public places, cell-phones, and television are among the causes of inconsiderate behavior. According to the research, conducted by the non-profit, non-partisan research group Public Agenda, almost 60 percent of respondents cite aggressive and inconsiderate driving as commonplace.

I provoked an instance of road rage once. The experience lasted only a minute or so, but it completely changed my approach to driving in traffic.

One morning I refused to allow a car to merge in front of me. I simply blocked the driver from entering the highway, which forced him to enter behind me. It was deliberate and inconsiderate at best. In my rearview mirror I saw the driver pound his fist on the dashboard and shake the steering wheel violently. Then he made three or four startlingly quick, reckless moves through three lanes of traffic, the last of which put him directly in front of me. It was stunning. It was impressive. Then, to my further humiliation, he yielded the lane back to me.

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April 22, 2002

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