“22-year-old shot at after fight over parking” … “The driver of Delhi Public School, Rohini, carrying 40 school students, suffered from severe head injuries, when he was hit by two men in an Alto car, for not giving them passage” … “G D Goenka School’s bus driver was hit by a hammer by a man in a Scorpio for not giving way.” … “5 youths in a Verna car attacked three pedestrians and killed one of them not giving way to their car” … “A police constable was dragged for more than 100 metres and was killed by being crushed under the wheels of a car that was being stopped for crossing red light.”
These are a few instances of what is happening almost regularly in Delhi and are popularly referred to as “Road rage incidents” in the newspapers. In the last 2-3 years, almost every day we get to hear about such incidents and the people on the roads in Delhi are so short-tempered that they don’t even hesitate to hit, punch or even kill someone on the pretext of some minor issues on the road, leave aside the regular abuses and arguments.
Delhi senior police officials have stated that in 2013, 36 road rage incidents were reported and in 2014 till August, there were already more than 20 cases registered. The PCR receives almost 10-12 calls every day on minor scuffles on the roads of Delhi. Short-tempered drivers have made the roads of Delhi very dangerous and unsafe for others. With the rising frequency of such incidents, this issue is giving rise to serious concerns and calls for urgent preventive steps.
What exactly are the reasons for such incidents? Whom do we blame? The police, the authorities, the society or the reckless aggressive drivers?
Behavioural patterns of aggressive driving
- Road rage occurs due to aggressive behaviour of the drivers. According to psychologists, the aggressive-driving behaviour shown by many drivers is associated with “intermittent explosive disorder” in medical terminology and there are various situations that lead to such mental disorders, such as follows:
- The first type of behaviour is the annoying type, in which the driver is irritated, annoyed or impatient on very small issues on the road like passing through red lights, not using indicators while changing lanes, speeding, blocking roads or not giving way. These issues can trigger a road rage.
- Another serious kind of aggressive behavioural driving is when the driver considers himself to be superior. He tries to display his power or strength, such as not allowing someone to move into his lane or using abusive language, yelling or using offensive gestures to threaten other drivers. This kind of behaviour shows a very unhealthy mentality and mind of the driver.
- The third kind of aggressive behaviour is the most dangerous one, when the driver resorts to violent means like racing at very high risky speeds or attacking someone with a weapon leading to the death of the other person.
We the citizens are also to be blamed for increased road rage. Some of the contributing factors of road rage that can be sourced to the society and the public as a whole are:
- Loss of sense of community
- Breakdown of society’s sharing and moral values
- Violation of traffic rules
- No lane driving
- Inconsistent driving speeds
- Lack of civic sense on the part of the people
- Lack of patience and many more….
The higher athorities’ responsibilities
Last but not the least, the law, police and the authorities are equally responsible. No strict action is taken against the offending drivers. Traffic control is not properly maintained. Police comes to the affected spot very late. One of the best solutions to solve the problem of road rage or prevent it is to install functional CCTV cameras in all sensitive and traffic congested locations, including bus stops and inside the public and private buses to closely monitor the conduct of the drivers. Random checks should be done by higher police officials from time to time at ‘red’ stops to reduce the corrupt practices by police constables and junior officials.
Avoid the ill-bred, and other ways we can avert road rage
- Don’t react in the same way as the aggressive driver. Don’t match with his behaviour. Avoid any physical reaction and also eye contact.
- Control your temper because you never know the level of hotheadedness of the other driver.
- Keep a level head and a calm mind. It’s difficult but you have to maintain that calmness to avoid any untoward incidents.
- If you are being followed, better to drive to the nearest police station and stop your car there.
- While driving, follow traffic rules, follow lane driving and avoid overtaking, especially in congested traffic zones. Practicing good driving habits is the best way to avoid conflicts.
- Don’t honk the car horn unnecessarily to irritate other drivers.
- Try to be courteous to your fellow driver even if he is at fault and let him have his way.
- Self-control is the basic component to keep your cool. You have to choose between whether to retaliate or not in anger. Better not to indulge in negative behaviour.
It is the duty of every one of us to treat others with respect and care, to be responsible for our lives and others on the road.
Let not personal whims and rage overtake us and do harm to innocent fellow travellers!
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