Suffield Observations

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Andy Sauer
Passive Aggressive Driving

Connecticut police are cracking down on aggressive driving.

According to the Connecticut Crash Data Repository, a University of Connecticut web site that collects crash information, there were 49,180 accidents involving aggressive driving in 2023, including 87 fatal crashes. The first five months of 2024 have already seen the rate decrease, with 4,460 accidents and thirteen deaths.

So, efforts by the police are working, but they can’t be everywhere at once.

I was heading south on North Main Street earlier this month, approaching the Mountain Road intersection. As I’m sure every Suffield driver knows, the right lane is for vehicles turning onto Mountain Road. At the light immediately after, the right lane opens up to South Main Street, and the left lane provides the option to turn left or go straight. Upon clearing the first light, I moved into the right lane ready to continue south. A driver in front of me anticipated that I was going to commit the vehicular faux pas (not traffic violation, I would argue) of passing on the right and steered to straddle the dotted line, preventing me from passing, until the lanes merged.


I continued down South Street, and the driver steered into the right lane to continue down Route 75, allowing me to move into the left lane with a slim chance of making a green light onto South Main Street. Suddenly, the driver switched into the left lane and ran the red light, stranding me there.


I drove on and caught up to the driver, who was maintaining a speed ten miles per hour below the speed limit all the way to Warehouse Point in Windsor Locks, where cars queue up in the left lane to turn onto Route 140 into East Windsor and the right lane opens up to Main Street. I waited until the driver was close to the car ahead of him and slipped into the right lane. At the last second, the driver tried to veer into my lane.


Aggression, even in its passive form, breeds aggression. I locked my jaw, hit the gas and blasted through the green light. It got close, but our vehicles did not touch and, fortunately, two Suffield idiots did not become one more state statistic.

I heard a psychologist theorize the reason drivers react so viscerally to traffic slights is that people regard their vehicles as an extension of themselves. A threat to the car is regarded as a threat to the body and is met with aggression. What was happening to me was not just a defensive reaction, it was an attempt at justice. The driver was ticked I tried to pass on the right and in response straddled two lanes of traffic, ran a red light, blew through a stop sign, drove demonstratively slow and almost collided with me to set me straight.

People who fear an unjust world react, ironically, injudiciously. No one is going to make the world a better place by driving aggressively or aggressively responding to aggressive driving, they’re going to make it a worse place.

It seems obvious, but maybe everyone should just chill out and let the police do their job.

The crazy part is I think I know the driver. It’s going to be awkward the next time I run into him.

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