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Road Rage

October 2000

Western PA has quite a few ghost stories and legends surrounding it; the steel city saw more than its share of mysterious goings-on over the years.

I married recently and moved to the Pittsburgh area to be closer to work. I hate driving and traffic and the like, so it was welcome change to live closer. I'm a self-professed aggressive driver. At least, I used to be.

The road on which I travel to go to work would immediately bring to mind haunting imagery; a dark, twisting road in the thick of a well-forested area. So it came as no surprise to me when I learned from one of the locals of a legend circulating about that road.

It came to be that I was heading into work early (as I often do, as Pittsburgh traffic is crazy). It was dark out yet; cloudy, no moon, and extremely quiet. I'd had a strange feeling since I'd woken up that the feeling you get right after you've seen a great horror movie; you know it's fiction...but you still avoid mirrors for awhile just in case there really IS something there.

I headed out and arrived at the road in short order. This road is a two-lane one way road, so there is no oncoming traffic for the stretch of it. Since it was early, I decided to keep towards the center of the road. Deer abound in this part of town, and I had no desire to hit one.

It was really dark and some fog had gathered. I put on my high beams so I could see a little better. I heard a car somewhere behind me, but couldn't follow it because of the bends and the trees.

The wind was blowing and the fog seemed to be getting thicker. Ahead of me, I noticed some taillights. I shut off my high beams and slowed down, so as not to startle the car in front of me. Suddenly there was a squeal and tires peeling, from somewhere behind me. I looked in my mirror and saw a car flying like a bat out of hell. It was in the left lane (I was in the right) and it flew past me. I blew my horn to warn the car in front of me, but it was too late. Tires screeched as the speeding car smashed into the car in front of me.

It was a horrifying sound. The car in front of me rammed into a tree, and the speeding car spun around it and crashed into another tree somewhere ahead.

The road was too narrow to stop on. I drove past a little ways, to a point where I could stop, and rushed back. As I ran towards the crash, I heard the sickening sound of a horn, blowing constantly. I grew worried and doubled my pace. By the time I arrived, the horn had stopped. I headed to where the cars went off the road...but nothing was there. Not a trace of them. At first I thought they'd driven off; that the crash wasn't bad. But I hadn't seen them drive by.

I looked to the road where they first went off. There were skid marks, but they were faint; as if they were years old. What's more, the guardrail that they'd crashed through was intact; it looked almost brand new.

I was terrified beyond the capacity for words, and I felt like the forest was going to suffocate me. I turned around to head back to my car and nearly tripped over something. I saw what it was; a small plaque affixed to a stone, facing the road. I'd never noticed it before. The inscription read:
"In loving memory of the three lives lost the morning of July 6, 1998. May it serve as a warning to those suffering from Road Rage."

I ran back to my car and never looked back.

It was only a few months later that I recounted my tail to a friend in a neighbouring condo. Our buildings all have private, outdoor entrances, and we ran into each other coming home from work. I asked him if he knew anything about an accident about 2 years ago on that road. He invited me in for a drink and I relayed my experience.

He listened intently. I thought he would think I was nuts, but when I finished, he spoke softly and understandingly. He told me that a mother was taking her little girl to school on that road on the morning of July 6, 1998 when an angry driver, who had taken the road as an alternative to the morning traffic rush, sped by and hit their car. The mother and her little girl died instantly. The driver was hospitalized for a few weeks and released. He admitted that he suffered from Road Rage, and could not take the main street traffic; that's why he went the back way.

On the one-year anniversary of the accident, his car and body were found, at the spot where the ladies' car had been.

A new guardrail was constructed in honour of the three lives lost.

I could hardly believe this story, as it seems to have fit what happened to me perfectly. I asked him why I had never seen these things before. He told me that, as the legend has it, the tragedy is only revealed to those in danger of repeating it. Needless to say, I have never once since that day driven aggressively or angrily. It's just not worth it.

Sometimes late at night or early in the morning when I get up I can still hear the screeching tires on the nearby road. I can still hear the explosion, the horn. I often wonder how many others in our community can hear it too...

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