Funny Business with Jane Wells

Road Rage Rants

Is it possible to profit from road rage? One Web site hopes so.

There are very few things I consider myself as an expert at, but driving is one of them. I drive a lot, and driving LA's freeways requires skill and quick reflexes. Unfortunately, we end up driving each other crazy here, literally. As laid back as Southern Californians like to appear to the world, we are vicious animals behind the wheel. Our cars are like second homes where we usually live alone, and where we don't think anyone else can see us, even though we are surrounded by transparent glass.

Road rage
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Personally, I struggle every day to keep my cool and not turn my commute into a NASCAR race, with every muscle tensed and eyes darting, because every day I end up getting angry over some dumb move by a driver—like the guy this morning who couldn't be bothered to look and see that I WAS IN THE NEXT LANE as he leisurely wandered over.

Now there's a place to safely rant about your feelings of road rage.

It's called "Plate Hate", and it originally started in Europe, where drivers are even more clueless. On Plate Hate, anyone can type in the license plate of someone driving like an idiot, and then explain why. The point of the Web site? "The author, being the cynical type who believes that any calls to a 'how's my driving' hotline would be promptly answered by a spotty automaton, thought that maybe the perfect place to vent their rage would be on the Internet," says the Web site, "where people actually care."

For whatever reason, the posted rants are coming mostly from the South. For example, this recent entry is from a driver in Atlanta: "Driving down a right turn only lane to turn right onto Steve Reynolds Blvd. Crazy heifer next to me in left lane cuts me off and almost clips the front of my truck to get into my lane then has the gawl to honk her horn. No signal or anything. Just merge and smile. "

A driver in Prattville, AL, posted a license plate and wrote: "Nearly ran me over! Thanks a lot!"

There was this profanity-laced rant from "Lawrence Street": "STOP MAKING OUT IN YOUR DAMN CAR. If you're that @%&# horny stay home, don't drive...LOOK AT THE @#$% LIGHT...IT'S GREEN."

In Houston, under the plate "OLDIDIOT": "Someone get that rotting, aged human off the road and into a nursing home!"

Maybe you can relate to the driver in Kentucky who wrote about being stuck at a gas station: "Argh. Get your a** off the gas pump and the forecourt. There's queues behind you and your just walking at the pace of a turtle. WE HAVE JOBS TO GO TO A**HOLE!!" (Queues? Forecourt? Methinks the writer is not from Kentucky.)

I loved this one from a driver in Arkansas heading into Tennessee: "Dadgum. Last night I had to drive to Downtown Memphis. Everyone was driving at least 10 miles below the freaking speed limit. I hit every red light downtown. Then, a horse and carriage pulled out in front of me, which caused me to catch, yet, another red light..."

Some on Plate Hate confess they seek revenge: "It was about noon on a Saturday and she was tailgating me," writes a driver from Illinois. "I was slamming on the brakes trying to get her off my rear end. I always keep a 12" trailer hitch off the back of my SUV so I don't care if she slams into it and punctures her radiator.. I need a new back bumper anyway. "

How did I find this Web site? The UK creators of Plate Hate tweeted me. They're busy trolling Twitter for people who complain about driving, asking them to post rants on the site. They tell me they went online three weeks ago, and the whole thing is a "bit of an experiment at the moment." Plate Hate is getting some revenue from ads, "but currently there's lots of scope for stuff like bumper stickers, kickback from insurance affiliates...Need to get critical mass of users first though—lots of repeat ranters are the key."

One important tip: don't do this while driving. Write your rant later.

What if you aren't happy that someone has posted your license plate online and complained about your driving? "Maybe you should be a little more considerate when you're driving your vehicle?" the Plate Hate folks joke (kinda), adding that, in reality, they'll remove your plate if you request them to do so via email.

But why haven't drivers in California discovered this online rant-board? Think of the money we could save on therapy! Our road rage could be greatly diminished knowing that we have an outlet where we can tell the entire world about our ludicrous driving habits!

Here would be one of today's entries from me: Lady in the black Acura, the far left lane is for PASSING. P-A-S-S-I-N-G. If you are in the far left lane and people are passing you on the right, or someone is right up on your tail, GET. OUT. OF. THE. FAR. LEFT. LANE. NOW.

Let me know what drives you nuts in the comments section below.

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