I live in Waterbury, work in Brookfield, and use I-84 to go between. I've noticed that there's been an incredible increase lately of motorists antagonizing each other, "breaking each other's stones" so to speak on the highway.

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Aggressive drivers and stone breakers are at war, and it's happening on I-84 in Middlebury, Bethel, Newtown, Southbury, Brookfield, Waterbury, and Danbury EVERY day. I noticed it when Omicron first hit and half of the usual volume disappeared, the typical culprit? Left lane squatters. I've been driving this stretch of I-84 for 35 years, if you're not doing at least 70 in the left lane, you're going to see angry faces in your rearview.

I've never seen more near-crashes and reckless driving than I have over the past two months. Just this morning, I saw an incident that prompted me to write this - I was behind a group of vehicles stuck behind a left lane squatter that was doing maybe 60 in the left lane of I-84 down the big hill into Southbury's Exit 15.

It's always the same type of vehicles involved in these stone-breaking situations. It's usually a Subaru or an F150 clogging up the left lane, and a stack of Mercedes/Acuras/Audi's behind them. Well, the Mercedes got on 84 West at the 16 on-ramp in Middlebury, when the slow lane disappeared into two lanes at the start of the downward incline, the Benz sped up and got in front of me, behind the squatting Subaru. As soon as the Benz got between us, the Subaru began to slow down, 65-60-55, and the Benz inched closer to the Subaru's bumper.

Then, the break checks started and all of us behind these two clowns were nailing our breaks too. I looked down, and we were doing 40 in the left lane. Eventually, the Benz rocketed out from between us, swerved onto the right shoulder, passed a tractor trailer, and raced back into the right lane. Of course right after this happened, the Subaru picked it up and started doing 70 again.

Why? I've seen so many memes about the sense of stupid satisfaction that squatters get out of seeing someone furious behind them, or the one about "I will smash into the back of that tractor trailer before I let you merge." You know what I think? I think the left-lane squatters and the aggressive drivers behind them have never been punched in the face. Just like the internet warriors hiding behind their screens, you may feel safe behind glass and steel, but wait 'til that goes away, or someone pulls your card.

There's always someone that wants to go faster than you and if they come up behind me on the highway and I'm in the left lane? I move over. I don't have a sense of entitlement to any certain area of the highway and neither should you. Is it worth getting shot at? Or causing an accident that may harm, or even worse, kill someone? Absolutely not.

What can be done about this? Nothing. Increased police presence? That only makes drivers behave is when a statey is in sight. I don't think we'll ever see the Connecticut State Police have enough staff to post a patrol vehicle every mile of 84 between Danbury and Sturbridge. Maybe respect for fellow human beings? Is that a lost art?

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