The rate of road accidents in India is one of the highest in the world. With more and more youngsters getting behind the wheel, most accidents are caused due to a flawed driving pattern. Sensation seeking, driving anger, vengeance, boredom, and stress are some of the prime factors why people turn to unsafe driving and get into situations that can be easily avoided.
A road rage refers to violent incidents arising out of stress and various psychological factors while driving on roadways or high-traffic areas. Road rage can lead to incidents where a motorist intentionally injures or kills any other motorist, pedestrian, or a passenger or threatens to do the same. Road rage often begins with heated arguments with another commuter, passenger, or a pedestrian and can even escalate to physical violence.
Road Rage, A Criminal Behaviour:
Road rage has become a cultural norm in India as most drivers feel the need to vent out their anger while driving on the roads. Driving on busy Indian roads can lead to frustration and angst that sometimes translate into road rage. Incidents of road rage can have a higher occurrence during peak traveling hours and in highly congested areas. Weather conditions, poor driving habits, traffic congestion, time constraints, and increased noise levels are some of the prime factors contributing to road rage incidents in India. A lot of times, an instructive response of one driver to another commuter may result in a road rage.
To understand the phenomenon better, in 1997, a few therapists in the US conducted a research and claimed ‘road rage’ to be a psychological disorder. However, this claim was not reinstated as it would allow criminals to get away from road rage accidents citing medical reasons.
‘Aggressive driving’ and ‘road rage’ are not the same things. Road rage is a wilful criminal behaviour where anger leads to violent behaviour. Aggressive driving, on the other hand, includes speeding, abrupt lane shifting, tailgating, and more. Road rage can be a result of violence-provoking behaviour that includes:
- Aggressive acceleration or speeding
- Obstructing other commuters
- Aggressive overtaking
- Blocking access to a traffic lane by forming a convoy
- Continuous honking of horn or excessively flashing lights
- Hurling abuses while driving
- Making offensive gestures to other commuters
- Deliberately hitting another commuter, passenger, or vehicle with one's vehicle
- Harming a commuter, passenger, or a pedestrian with a weapon
- Threatening to injure, kill, or use of a weapon
- Causing revengeful harm
- Causing physical injuries or death
- Obstructing the traffic, and more
Road rage is a common problem in many parts of the world. Countries including the U.S, Australia, Canada, England, Japan, Ireland, New Zealand, and others are taking measures to reduce incidents of road rage. However, there is no common approach to it as the cultural norms differ from one country to another. India being the country with one of the highest number of road accidents in the world must take steps to make the licensing norms stricter and enforce better driving patterns in the country. The country needs legislations and laws that clearly lay down penalties for violation of road discipline. Education of drivers should also be given due importance.
For commuters, some of the best ways to avoid getting into incidents of road rage are to avoid reacting to unnecessary comments, avoid making eye contacts, and adopt better driving practices. Driving a vehicle must not be looked as a competition, and discipline should be practised while driving to avoid getting into unnecessary situations.
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