1. Road Rage: Do we have a Permanent Solution?

Road Rage: Do we have a Permanent Solution?

19th December 2016

Are our lives safe on Indian roads while driving? Perplexed by this question, many people have begun to fear & worry about the most dreaded menace known as Road Rage. It is very disturbing to read in newspapers about its frequent occurrence & how people are beaten up or killed over petty issues which otherwise can be solved amicably. Despite various laws enacted, the graph has only shown an upward trend & relief from this alarming issue is only a distant dream for many.

source - YouTube

Violent & uncalled for incidents caused by everyday stress, work pressure, personal & family tensions are really the main underlying factors for road rage. How a person analyses a situation & his immediate reaction whether it is called for or not, can also be considered under this purview.

fighting source - galleries.celebs

Going by the layman terminology, we generally understand the whole concept as a passenger or motorist, intentionally providing harm or injuring another commuter or pedestrian just to gain an upper hand or prove a point. Effort is not even made to pinpoint who was at fault and what follows is swear of abuses & shouts between the two parties. Being humble enough to accept your mistake & compensating the other person can really solve majority of the problem. This is really what we read every day on the front pages of the newspapers & view it as breaking news on our television sets. It is high time that we get together and chalk out some strategies to curb this problem for the benefit of the mankind as a whole.

source - You Tube

Main Catalytic Factor

An in depth study reveals that most of the drivers have been driven towards ‘Road Rage’ right from their household. The basic cultural norms & well accepted day to day practices can very well be a root cause for all this. Values & ethics inculcated from the childhood while learning to drive have a great bearing in the long run. We are not ruling out domestic violence too in this aspect, because majority of cases we come across of Road Rage are reported from sub-urban areas where families are still having an orthodox lifestyle where the men have the final say.

Main-Catalytic-Factor source - indianlink

The authority & dictatorship nature being exercised at home finally comes out on the road one day. Most of the incidents have been experienced during peak hours, fair weathers & moderately congested conditions on urban streets. Alcohol, being one of the biggest catalytic forces aggravating the issue in which an individual parting with his senses & mental balance thereby, resorting to an unruly behavior detrimental to the values of the society.

What’s the Difference?

Whats-the-Differencesource - nashfranciskato

Differentiating between ‘Road Rage’ & ‘Aggressive Driving’ can throw more light on the two terms while bringing transparency & clarity in their understanding. The first term can be characterized as a frustration within a person coupled with an uncontrolled & outburst of anger, resulting in threatened violence on the roads. Adding fuel to the fire are many other factors such as traffic congestion, driving habits, increasing pollution & noise levels along with time constraints. The ergonomics of your car also play a major role & if not in place, can have a detrimental effect on your mind & generate negative feelings.

Back in 1997, the US therapists termed Road Rage as a medical disorder which gave the criminals an excuse to plead & shrug off. But to a large extent, the willful damage & harm done to another person comes under the purview of Criminal Behavior. While on the other hand, ‘Aggressive Driving’ is slightly opposite, not up to the levels of Criminal offense but if not kept in check, can backfire on the individual doing so. It involves an enthusiastic & a joy ride, including tailgating, repeated honking, zig-zag & fast lane changing.

To prevent this, parents need to be the guiding forces in making their children realize & understand the importance of obeying traffic rules.

Curbing Road Rage: Effective steps

6-Curbing-Road-Ragesource - wedio

Countries such as United States of America, Canada, Australia, England, Japan & Ireland are working on the solutions to curb down this problem drastically but a one stop solution cannot be executed due to the difference in cultural norms.

Road Rage in a bigger purview can be viewed as violation of property rights. One simply has to be patient & calm so as not to be its victim. Avoiding eye contact & responding are perhaps the two suggestive actions apart from many that one can follow at the ground level, thereby ensuring that driving does not become a competition.

traffic-policesource -faridabadmetro

Even for our traffic police, Road Rage has become one of the most pressing issues in recent times. A food for thought reveals this menace can be attributed to the deterioration of the civic sense, tolerance levels, thinking pattern & social behavior, all which affect the modern community to a larger extent. Our Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has suggested that people must adapt to proper road manners by driving in their lanes, giving way, park at the designated spots & not blow horn unnecessarily.

The Government has made a strong effort to formulate laws regarding Compensation Cases involving rash & negligent driving under IPC section 279,337 & 338 but nothing concrete has been achieved looking at the present state of affairs. Lack of infrastructure, poor road condition, increasing cars per day, largely depict the state of mind of an average Indian driver.

issue-of-Road-Ragesource -ytimg

A number of steps & intervention methods can be devised to skillfully tackle the rising issue of Road Rage. The General public can be educated through campaigns in which banner boards display a clear cut message such as driver's’ education , do’s & don’ts on a public road while at the same time displaying pictures of the aggravating agony & tension related to this problem.

justicesource -tehelka.com

Big Boy Toyz, one of the largest pre-owned luxury car showroom of the country has assumed a pivotal role in distributing its stickers among masses saying “I AM A BIG BOY BECAUSE BIG BOYS DRIVE TOYS CAREFULLY”. The youths of India are the main recipients of the stickers emphasizing on the fact that while a person drives his car carefully adhering to traffic rules, he also pledges not to engage in any sort of unruly behavior affecting the general public on the road.

bbt-imgsource -tehelka.com

Awareness can also be increased through tools such as tapes, books, surveys & self-tests. They play a handy role in reducing stress levels & guiding the drivers on intricate details of everyday driving. It also throws a light on one’s own behavior as well as the unruly conduct of the other party involved in the conflict. Hotline numbers have been provided by the police to report incidents of Road Rage but care should be taken that these numbers are not misused just for fun or prank calls.

Internet, Television & Radio announcements can be a boon as they engulf more people into a common discussion. Mobile apps like ‘Report It’ that gives the advantage of clicking the person’s car photograph who has misbehaved with you and reporting it to the higher authorities. Government web pages are loaded with Driver Improvement tips & Self-assessment quizzes through which a common message is sent to all citizens.

source -You Tube

Intelligent Transport systems are being used to deter Road Rage by using intersection cameras. Cameras are placed at certain distances to capture either the whole video of the incident or a glimpse of the red light runners and speeders. The offenders can be booked based on the evidence generated. This whole mechanism is possible without having a Traffic Cop being physically present on the spot.

Enforcement-of-lawssource content.newsinc

Enforcement of laws at various regional, state & municipal levels can be effective in the long run. Strategies such as unmarked cars, plain clothed police officers & video cameras can be put in place but a proper coordination and mutual understanding will be required between bodies such Transport Authority, Central Police, Traffic Police, Construction agencies and Highway authority because it is the joint responsibility of all to fight against this common recurring problem. People do not take the warning letters & fine charges seriously. They feel that by paying a hefty amount & bribing the cop can render them to do the same act again in the future.

Summing it up, curbing & ending a big problem known as Road Rage rests in the hands of the general public. The level and degree of awareness & the willingness to follow traffic rules will differentiate an individual and yes, he can be the guiding factor for all, ensuring a safer & better journey.

 

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