ROADS REPORT: Anger management

It’s like they say, “Hell hath no fury like a woman cut off, tailgated, honked at, gestured to or stuck in gridlock.”

Blog Entry September 06, 2012

David Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news for his Roads Report column since 2000. The stories are all true.

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Make or break time
Traffic signs in New Zealand’s biggest city are under attack, but not from hurricanes or mischievous college students.

No, the telltale aroma of baby powder, coconut rum and menthol cigarettes told police exactly who was behind the violent assaults: hookers!

“Prostitutes use these street-sign poles as dancing poles,” said Donna Lee, a member of the Otara-Papatoetoe city council in Auckland. “The poles are part of their soliciting equipment and they often snap them.”

In fact, more than 40 metal sign poles in one area of Auckland have been bent, buckled or broken in the past 18 months alone.

Fed up with sex workers competing in feats of strength just outside their doorsteps, the Otara-Papatoetoe city council is fighting back.

While prostitution has been legal in New Zealand since 2003, the council wants to ban solicitation from certain areas of their community and has published a booklet explaining exactly why.

Among their reasons are the thousands of dollars spent to repair or replace street signs that hookers have wrecked.

So how exactly does a streetwalker destroy a street pole? “Some of the prostitutes are big, strong people,” Councilwoman Lee understated.

Don’t blow a gasket
In the U.S., it’s not our street signs that are getting bent out of shape—it’s our wives.

So says a new study that finds women are more likely to fly off the handle when provoked behind the wheel.

Harris Interactive surveyed 3,800 American commuters and found that 61% of women admitted to experiencing road rage, compared with 56% of men.

Hopefully you married a cougar because drivers 25-34 years old are the most likely to flip out. Roughly 68% of these younger drivers admitted to losing their temper on the road, compared with 47% of the calmest drivers, those 55 and older.

Weather seems to play a role, too. The study found that drivers are 17% less likely to lose their cool during the summer months.

The study was commissioned by CareerBuilder, which offered helpful tips for low-stress commutes, like leaving earlier, taking public transportation or playing easy-listening music en route.

After all, you never see Hall & Oates fans fighting on a subway before 8 a.m.

Behind the times
Men have long been uneasy about women on the roads, as evidenced by some of our states’ most archaic laws.

For example, no matter how lost your husband gets you while insisting he doesn’t need directions, in Georgia it’s illegal to strike him (or any man) on the back or front.
It’s illegal for women in California to drive a car while dressed in a housecoat, and for women in Cleveland to travel to a public place wearing patent leather shoes.

In Michigan you can drive in whatever clothes you want, but you’ll need to check with your husband before heading to the hair stylist. According to state law, your hair belongs to your spouse and you’ll need his permission to alter it.

Most astonishing of all, an Alabama law requires that a man either run or walk in front of any car driven by a woman. What’s more, the man is to wave a red flag in order to warn approaching motorists and pedestrians.

Can you imagine flagmen leading women’s cars around in this day and age? That would be ridiculous, especially when the cars could just be outfitted with LED strobe lights, reflective placards and a siren. R&B

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