Why waste your time futilely shaking your fist at the driver who cut you off on the country road when you can take him to task on the information superhighway?
AKBadDrivers is a month-old Twitter feed that takes road rage into the information age. It lets aggrieved motorists in Alaska fire off 140-character vents about drivers who follow too closely, park too tightly, drive too fast or flout other vehicular etiquette. When “you yell out the window or give them the finger, you really don’t get any vindication,” said the Twitter feed’s co-creator, Molly Hutchins. “This gives you an outlet to vent your frustration to others and feel like you’ve gotten a little justice.” Hutchins hatched the idea after she found her mother’s instant messages, or tweets, were increasingly becoming rants on bad driving. Her parents commute 50 miles each way from their home in Wasilla to Anchorage every day. Her mother, Annette Mullen, would unleash her fury over aggressive or annoying driving antics from the passenger seat, via the micro-blogging site Twitter. “I kept seeing more and more angry ones, and I said, ‘Why don’t I set one up just for that’ ” Hutchins said. “Then we said, ‘Why can’t we let other people post to it, too’ ” That was three weeks ago. Thanks to an appearance on a morning radio show and a feature in the Anchorage Daily News, the feed now has 648 followers — and climbing. They send their rants privately, and the mother-daughter duo posts them anonymously. “Geek Squad bug on Northern Lights — does your car come with turn signals Let’s use ’em,” said one post. Another urged the use of mud flaps: “GET SOME you’re killing the rest of us with cracks and chips in our windshields!” Some post pictures of offending vehicles: “Really, Highlander No one is this skinny. I so do not love climbing in my passenger door.” And some include license plate numbers, which Hutchins sees nothing wrong with. “We’re not trying to be hurtful. The license plate is stuck on the front of your car,” she said. “Anybody can do anything with it. We’re not posting names or anything.” Hutchins and her mother edit the rants, but do not post any of their own. Nor do they text and drive, she stressed. “Why would I be part of the problem That seems silly to me,” she said. “I find myself driving more carefully because I’m scared — ‘Oh God, what if someone catches me’ ” They’re not out to change the world, Hutchins said. They just hope that the next time you’re on the receiving end of an errant honker, you can resist the urge to tap into your inner beast — and use your fingers to tap out a tweet instead. After you pull over, of course.