Extreme Road Rage on the Autobahn

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A German lorry (that’s a European term for “truck,” apparently) driver has had an extreme, prolonged case of road rage  on the autobahn. (The “autobahn” is the highway system in Germany, also known as the “Bundesautobahn.”

(Ed. Note: If you would like to know more about the Autobahn, here is a video that will not teach you anything except that Kraftwerk was really good.)

Last month, police finally caught the man who’d been responsible for shooting over 700 cars on the autobahn ! For five whole years, the 57-year-old lorry driver had been shooting at drivers! He says he was annoyed and frustrated by traffic, according to the article.

The autobahn has no speed limit, but the suggested speed is 81 miles per hour. The varying, swift speeds may account for why the autobahn sniper missed most targets. In his years of hunting cars on the road, he only hit one person in the neck and caused an accident by knocking another car off its path.

Because Germany doesn’t have a term for insane behavior on the road, they’ve adopted the American term, “road rage.”

Most of us have abused the horn and muttered a curse at some point. And in some cases, people have deliberately hurt others on the road. But it’s typically an impulsive, regrettable incident , not a premeditated attack.

It’s unclear whether or not this man had a mental illness. So far, road rage is the only contributing factor that’s been mentioned (though, if you ask me, shooting at 700 cars probably qualifies you as a crazy person).

But if road rage really was all that set this man off, then it’s disturbing that irritation with the road was all it took for this man to turn his auto kampf (car struggle) into years of deliberate shootings.

How did this fury build? We may never know. So how do we keep a similar frenzy from building up within ourselves? What would Austrian neighbor of Germany Sigmund Freud recommend? How can people prevent getting irked from driving them to commit a crime? Well, maybe the first place to start isn’t behind the wheel, but in bed! In “The Interpretation of Dreams,” Freud said, “Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.” If a little analysis of your own dreams leads you to realize that your pet peeves behind the wheel could force you to become ugly and dangerous while driving, you should arm yourself with tools , not weapons.

More seriously, pay attention to yourself when you’re driving. If you feel yourself getting upset at other drivers, don’t give in to road rage. Remove yourself from the situation as quickly and safely as you can, get control of yourself and your emotions, and never, ever, try to threaten or hurt another roadway user.

We all get upset behind the wheel, but a few simple defensive driving tips and tricks can keep us from becoming a danger to ourselves and others. After all, a car can be just as deadly as a rifle.