By the time they realize you’re just crazy…

You know the type: tailgaters, lane-hoggers, swervers.

You know the feeling: RAGE, the impulse to flip the bird, slam on the brakes and scream obscenities.

And how good do you feel the rest of the day? Do you even notice? I feel crappy.

I realized a few years ago that getting MAD at other drivers is not only dangerous (I’ve diverted my attention from driving, all blood flow is used for RAGE, etc.) but it’s not very good for me, emotionally. After an altercation vis a vis “the bird” or some nasty lip-reading through the windshield, I just never felt good about humanity.

Which is why I developed my soon-to-be-patented Facial Activated Disarming Driver System, or FADDS.

It’s simple. The next time someone is red in the face at you for obeying the speed limit, and their window is smeared with the spittle of a thousand curse words, plaster on your widest cheesiest smile and wave happily (with all five fingers, please).

The key here is cheese. No pageant-queen waves, either. This is an ear-to-ear all out balls to the wall $hit eating grin and the wave you used when you were a kid and candy might be involved.

Here’s how it works: The other person is firing at you with all cylinders, adrenaline pumping, hackles raised. You engage FADDS. They’re expecting you to fire back. When you don’t…you’ve completely shorted the circuit. When you wave, you trigger the socially-ingrained culturally appropriate response to wave back because they’re thinking, in a split second, “Do I know her? Is that my son’s kindergarten teacher/the clerk at the bank/my cousin?” Also, they feel stupid because you just changed the rules of the engagement – flipping you off now seems ridiculous because there you are, waving happily.

While their little brains are working it out, you will see any of the following:

  • Confused looks
  • Faltering middle finger
  • Raised eyebrows
  • Possibly they will wave back, albeit halfheartedly

By the time they realize they don’t actually know you, and that you’re clearly crazy, the situation has been diffused and it’s smooth sailing from there. No matter how they reboot, you’ll be out of the way. You have taken control of the situation in a power struggle.

Mind you, this all takes place in the span of seconds.

The first time I tried this, I was pulling out of a parking lot into a busy road, turning left. A woman coming from the right had stopped and was trying to wave me through but I could see traffic coming that she couldn’t see, so I had to decline her vigorous waves which made her mad. As she turned left to come into the parking lot I was leaving, the look on her face and the words from her mouth read: WARNING, MIDDLE FINGER DEPLOYMENT IS ACTIVATED. As she rode past me, and we were eye-to-eye, I engaged FADDS – huge grin, happy face, big wave.

She immediately mimicked me and smiled and waved back, although I could see it on her face: DO I KNOW YOU???

You’re always sort of afraid somebody is going to pull a gun on you for flipping them off. See, I figure nobody is going to shoot me for waving.

“Can you tell me why you took a shot at this woman, sir?”

“Well, she was drivin’ too slow and then she…she…”

“She what?”

“She uh…waved at me.”

“She waved at you.”

“And she smiled.”

“You shot at her car because she waved and smiled at you.”

See? Silly.

Every time I use FADDS, I giggle about it every time because it’s so dang funny. Try it and let me know how it works.



  1. I like the sound of FADDS! As a learner driver, I certainly have plenty of rude behaviour directed at me (even when I’m driving perfectly well), and I don’t know quite how to react. I would probably get angrier if I wasn’t so scared, being inexperienced and all. So from now on I will just smile and wave cheerfully at them. 😛

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