I have been driving in California since 2006 and as far as I know, I haven’t made any critical errors on the road, except of course when I failed my driving test the first time ;-). I strongly believe that I have been a good driver. When I say good, Mr. P might say slow, but I don’t care. I drive at or slightly above the speed limit, rarely below, and that’s good enough in my books. I have also been lucky enough to not have experienced or witnessed any serious cases of road rage, yes that’s a thing of major concern these days.
As I have mentioned on previous occasions, this country has taught me a lot of new words and phrases, one of them being road rage. It is a common sight in India to see drivers honking, screaming, and flailing bad words at the drop of a hat. Here, on the contrary, I thought drivers were more civilized. At least, that’s how it looked from the outside, cars moving steadily in their own lanes, no bicyclists and auto-rickshaws zipping by, no overflowing buses, and most importantly no honking.
However, it took me time to realize that something dangerous lay hidden within some of those cars — road rage. According to Wikipedia, road rage is defined as, “aggressive or angry behavior exhibited by motorists. These behaviors include rude and verbal insults, physical threats or dangerous driving methods targeted toward another driver or non-drivers such as pedestrians or cyclists in an effort to intimidate or release frustration.” There have been occasions when other cars have overtaken us recklessly, turned abruptly without indicating, tailgated, or driven very slowly on a fast lane. Though Mr. P gets agitated at such people, he typically stops with a few honks to show his frustration (he may react differently if alone in the vehicle). Whenever these incidents occur, I tell him that if they are reckless, that’s their problem. By reacting in a similar manner, aren’t we endangering our lives and possibly that of others on the road too? It is simply not worth it to react to such drivers.
Simply take the case of the little boy who could not make it to his kindergarten class on Friday morning. From the report, it doesn’t even look like the mother did anything wrong on the road. Whoever shot into the car, was enraged for no fault of the mother and the boy. Every week, I start out my search for new topics with the hope of finding something sweet, something positive to write about. But, unfortunately, there is so much sorrow and negativity in the world that finding a teeny bit of positivity has become a chore. How does one react to the news of a 6-year old being shot in his own car?
All these years, I was scared of driving in India because of the unruly traffic and the need to change gears while driving (yes, I’m spoiled that way). In the light of recent incidents here, I feel like I might be safer driving in crazy traffic than amidst crazy drivers. Have you had any road rage experiences, how did you deal with it?
Feature photo by pixabay.