The Lung Brothers

Hanging out at the extreme end of the long tail ...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Rabia de la Carratera - A Guide to Iberian Road Rage.

Latins are a creatively anarchistic bunch when you stick them behind a steering wheel and although Spain perhaps doesn’t quite measure up to the charmingly lemming-like driving tendencies of Italy or Portugal (being driven around in Naples is one big out-of-body experience), it can certainly hold it’s own in the category of motorised lunacy.

I remember CS and I renting a car while visiting my sister in Los Angeles and having her warn us about those impatient, aggressive LA drivers. Good God, talk about docile. It was like going on the Small World ride in Disney with a bunch of Stepford wives on Ritalin. Obviously my sister has never driven anywhere on the Med. She should try some day, it is at the very least a vigorously life-affirming experience.

Curiously, given that most Spanish motorists have the attention span of a mollusc combined with the patience of a crack addict, there tends to be a pattern to their madness. So here we present the Lung Brothers Guide to Road Rage, with remedial suggestions thrown in for good measure.


This is an urban phenomenon and occurs at traffic lights around rush hour. The lights are on the point of changing on one axis of the crossroads but instead of stopping and despite the fact that the street is blocked on the other side, the last few cars try to skip across at the last minute and end up getting trapped in the middle of the crossroads. So when the lights do change, the oncoming traffic finds the way totally blocked and everybody begins honking their horns in a jolly chorus. And of course when the lights change back, it’s time for all those cars that had been blocked to take revenge on the original offending street, so they in turn get stuck in the middle of the crossroads and block subsequent oncoming traffic. And so on and so forth, ad nauseum.

Road rage remedy: Well, less is more. And given that the cars are trapped and stationary, we would recommend the simple trustworthy crowbar on the windscreen. The satisfying chunk and tinkle should go a long way to easing your frayed nerves.


When trundling along the motorway at the speed limit for mere mortals, one will often catch a blur whizzing by on the left, followed shortly by a second. After recovering from the tsunami-like Doppler effect, you realise that the blurs in question were two specimens of the same flashy brand of German engineering. i.e. either two Mercs or two Audis or two Beemers. Then it becomes obvious what has happened.

Rich Brat nº.1 didn’t see the point in his Daddy buying him fifty grand’s worth of car, if he couldn’t take it out on the road and demonstrate his superiority to the proletariat by hooring along at 200 kph (125mph). However, in his efforts to achieve hyperspace in the left lane, Rich Brat nº.1 flew by Rich Brat nº.2 who happened to be in EXACTLY the same brand of car. Now this show of superior velocity is a huge affront to Rich Brat nº.2 and a combination of bourgeois pride coupled with diminutive penile length, leave him no choice. He tears off after Rich Brat nº.1 and the idiotic duel begins.

Road rage remedy: A bit of sophistication is required here due to the speed and strength of the vehicles. The Lung Brothers would recommend some form of light missile that could be locked into anything travelling at over 150kph. Only a light charge of explosive will be needed, you don’t have to annihilate the cars, just give them a strong jolt and their velocity should do the rest.


It’s two o’clock in the morning and you’re just about to hit that beautiful stretch of deep sleep when suddenly a giant angry wasp invades the remnants of your REM dream cycle. You awake with a jolt to realise that a scooter with an ‘enhanced’ exhaust pipe has just passed beneath your apartment window. Some adolescent scooter riders, bless their souls, feel that they should announce their passing by deliberately sabotaging their exhaust silencers. Naturally, the best time and place to experience the full effect of their tuning endeavours is in a quiet residential neighbourhood in the we hours.

Road rage remedy: Calthrops scattered from the balcony. Say no more.


You’re a long way from home, on a country road, stuck behind a battered twenty-year old jalopy doing a full 25kph under the speed limit. You wait until you have a clear view ahead, indicate in plenty of time, drop a gear and move out gently to overtake. As you come level with the other car, you see the driver’s expression suddenly change to ‘Oh no you don’t!’ and he or she suddenly accelerates, leaving you trapped on the other side of the road at the mercy of oncoming haytrucks. It is the pea-brained instinctive reaction of the Spanish driver that by overtaking him you’re stealing his place in some sort of universal queue. I say pea-brained but the probability is that the thought never gets further than his medulla and as he is directly risking your life, we shall afford him no mercy.

Road rage remedy: Rotating blades on the wheels, a la chariot race at the end of the film Ben Hur. Blow his tyres and then with a gentle lateral nudge, let him meet his untimely end wrapped round some olive tree.


Teletac is the radar-operated automatic toll gates that they have here and although I don’t have a unit and this has never happened to me, I’ve heard a lot about it and it’s the sort of phenomenon that really belongs in this posting. As you approach the teletac tollgate a car appears in front of you and drives suspiciously slowly. You assume that this car also has a teletac account but as you both get to the gate the other driver practically brakes and you end up almost touching his rear bumper. The sensor registers your teletac unit, the barrier raises and the other guy goes through ahead of you. You basically pay the other drivers toll.

Road rage remedy: What this guy deserves is what James Caan got in the Godfather Part I, but that would be a little hard to arrange. I would humbly suggest a 50-foot cable with a grappling hook on both ends. As the dipshit begins to slow up, try to hook his rear bumper or whatever you can reach. As he speeds off thinking himself very clever for having ripped off another motorist for a couple of Euros, you attach the other grappling hook to some sturdy part of the tollgate. The real meaning of getting ripped off will become very clear within a couple of seconds.

So these are just a few examples of our local automobile culture and how I fantasise about doing something about it. They are not freak events but the sort of things that you see every day on the roads here. Please feel free to comment on your local psychotic drivers and what you’d like to do about it.

After all, if you can’t vent your bile on a blog, where can you do it?