A new route, and new challenges

March 24, 2005 01:30 by keithkaragan
I've taken on a new assignment that started a few weeks ago, but is really just getting started - both for me and for the client - so I have a new commute. No more NYC for the time being, now I have the pleasure of rush hour traffic on NJ's crappy Garden State Parkway (GSP).
The GSP is not NJ's worst road (by far), but traveling North on it is no where as pleasurable as traveling south on the NJ Turnpike. At certain points there are toll booths every 6 or 7 miles and it becomes a chore to keep you urban assault vehicle in the narrow lanes in heavy traffic, especially in bad weather.

Anyway, today was interesting from the perspective of encountering another overt asshole. It happens that even though the GSP is a very crowded road and there are quite a number of accidents and close calls every day, and some of these are certainly caused by reckless or distracted drivers - it is pretty rare to witness unbridled disregard for ones own safety and just plain rage. The setting for today's spectacle was leaving a toll lane in a not too congested stretch of road.
As I pulled away from the toll booth an SUV in the lane next to me way pretty much dead even with me, and although I clearly had the right of way, I eased off the gas to give him a little edge to get past. Behind him, and me, was a fairly new Audi wagon who's driver decided that she somehow had the right of way, although no one with working vision would agree. So this psycho guns the gas and is literally an inch or two from side-swiping my car, do she back off now that she realizes that there is no room to squeeze in (a normal occurrence) - nope! She guns it harder nearly taking me out and ramming the car in front of me as well. As I got a good look at her scowled, angry mug and nasty disposition I couldn't understand what the hell could be running through her mind. She proceeded to weave in and out cutting off car after car until I lost sight of her at the next toll (she was e-z pass equipped and I am not).
Although this is certainly not a unique experience on it's own - especially in NJ - it made me think about what would have happened to me (or anyone else involved) if she had hit me. Insurance would pay for most of the damage, and I'd have to cough up some cash for deductibles, etc - then my insurance costs would go through the roof. And I had done nothing wrong, and would have no recourse. I can swallow this on the basis of an accident, things happen and it's unavoidable sometimes - hence the term. Even considering a person on the phone, eating a sandwich, being sleepy, nervous, or whatever else that might be unintentional ... we're human and accidents happen. This would not have been an accident, this would have been pre-meditated and with intent. I can't believe that this should be a one time thing for this person, so it's a matter of time between the damage this woman must causes. But what is the recourse for her victims (not that I feel like a victim - since I fortunately avoided collision).
I'm wondering what I could have done to give her a reality check, and had it come to grinding metal, what my recourse would be. In the end I'm not even scared of the monetary loss all that much, but where is the justice? Can I lodge a complaint of Vehicular Assault under these circumstances (does that even exist?)? Can I then present that to the Insurance company to clear my good name and protest any rate increase? Can I sue in civil court for the costs I'll incur from the insurance company surcharges?  .... I don't know, but I intend to find out a little more about this scenario and the options at hand.
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