Harish Jharia

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10 July 2009

Road Crimes: The Fatal Road Rage


© Harish Jharia

Everyone forcefully condemns the fatal irritation of road rage. Nevertheless, each one of us gets captivated with the unpredictable outburst of temper while driving on the roads. The road rage makes inroads in our mind so abruptly that we are usually caught unawares and realize the situation; only when we find ourselves totally gripped in it. Sometimes we happen to encounter the worst consequences like loss of lives and property. This all happens in spite of the fact that, in most of the cases, the control over the fatal road rage is right in our own hands. However, some times it happens due to the mistakes committed by others. As such, the factors responsible for road rage are in multiples. However, we may classify them as follows:
  1. The first person, that is the self
  2. The second person, that is the other person who himself or whose vehicle gets involved
  3. The third person, that is any person, thing or entity that provokes the road rage other than the above two
The first person:

The moment we mount over the driver’s seat we should make ourselves cautious against inflicting any harm to other road users by committing mistakes in our driving. At the same time, for our own safety, we have to be watchful against reckless driving by other road users. Moreover, extra care should be taken against the movement of innocent men, women and children who happen to be unaware of the traffic rules and some of them suffering from anxiety or other disabilities.

It looks quite easy to advise others about precautions. Nevertheless, it is just not possible to fulfill all the requirements for being an ideal driver. An accident is called an accident as it happens unexpectedly, right from the blues, leaving the victims as well as the driver himself, helpless. Anyways, it is not possible to achieve absolute perfection. However, we can always try our best to follow as many precautions as possible and reduce as many mistakes as one can afford to. The following are the do(s) and don’t(s) that may be tried to achieve better and safe driving:

What should you do?
  1. As soon as you mount the drivers seat and hold the steering wheel, make sure that you are all set to hold the responsibility for the safety of the occupants of your vehicle and that of the other road users out there
  2. Keep an eye at the dashboard and other controls and concentrate at them as you would be going to use them simultaneously in various combinations, remembering well that, for this complex activity, your mind need to be totally at the disposal of the controls
  3. Before you switch on the ignition key adjust the position of your seat, enabling yourself to reach out for full control over the Clutch and brake, by moving it front & back. Sit upright, buckle up your seat belt and adjust all the three rear viewing mirrors to have the widest field of view achievable with the least movement of your eyes and head
  4. This is the time when you should ward-off all the worries and stresses, out of your mind, by trying to flash a smile on your face and switching on the music system, playing a piece of your choice
  5. A counter-check for stress free mind can be conducted by checking the physical symptoms of the mental-stresses that are clutched lips, stiff face-muscles, grinding jaws, tensed eyebrows, wide-open eyelids, drooping shoulders and any thing that is abnormal. As you ensure everything normal, you are fit to drive off
  6. Now drive smooth, so smooth that an occupant of your vehicle can carry a glassful of water while you drive. However you shouldn’t hesitate to apply instant brakes, bringing the vehicle to a screech halt, in case you are required to save a life
  7. You should maintain the speed specified by the authorities and orient it depending on requirements. Keep in your mind that 99% of accidents are met at high speeds. It is believed that speed between 40 km/h and 60 km/h is considered as safe on Indian roads. However, on straight highways speed up to 80 km/h is also considered not too dangerous in daytime. But in the nights, firstly intercity drives should be avoided and if at all taken up, the speed, in any case, should not exceed 60 km/h
  8. The most dangerous road user is a drunken driver. Driving is totally forbidden after heavy drinks as the alcohol takes away your presence of mind, quick reflexes and patience, making you totally unfit to hold any responsibilities
  9. On following the above guide lines you are left with only to follow the normal traffic rules like keeping your side, being in your lane, flashing indicators before changing your lane and the course of drive, honoring traffic signals and of course obeying the orders of the cop.
What should you not do?
  1. You should not do any thing that goes against the precautions described above. Apart from that let us discuss the other don’t(s) in the succeeding lines
  2. On having over-taken, don’t identify the speeding vehicle, and indulge in a car race with its driver
  3. In an avoidable dispute with any other moving car’s driver, it is better to give up, rather than indulging in an interactive fight via gestures, with your foot on the accelerator and eyes kept away from the front wind screen
  4. About 5% of the morning office goers in Delhi (India) are found taking their breakfast while driving. Better take your breakfast at home rather than eating on the steering wheel, while driving-alone, to your workplace
  5. Do not use mobile phones on the driver’s seat as law in India forbids using cell phones while driving. In USA it is not so because the traffic on American roads is not as congested as in India
  6. Do not try to focus your eyes, while driving, to identify any attractive face or attempt to read any text painted on walls or hoardings
  7. An Ideal driver device a drill right from the very first activity of mounting the driver’s seat to the concluding function of switching off the ignition key and follows it so consistently that it transforms into his natural instinct
The second person:
  1. While on a move, so many individuals encounter you and create obstructions against your normal smooth drive. This second person may be a pedestrian, another driver or even a cop. He may create problems while you drive reverse. He may abruptly appear right in front of you from nowhere. He may hit your vehicle at the rear or honk from behind eventually picking up a fight with you.
  2. In fact, you don’t have any control over this second person. You can only take precautionary measures against such entities lest you may lend in troubles. Sometimes a cop, for a mistake committed by the second person, may book you. Therefore, here are certain precautionary measures suggested for you:
  3. Never park your vehicle at a ‘no parking’ zone and make it sure that parking fee is paid in time with a proof in your hand
  4. At the time of parking-in or parking-off, you must be extremely careful against inflicting damage to other vehicles or civil structures
  5. Be careful while driving past a road having by-lane openings and vehicles or pedestrians is expected to appear on the road all of a sudden. Extra care should be taken in such situations during night
  6. Do not get provoked with abnormal behavior of other vehicle drivers, pedestrians or bicycle riders. Keep prepared to tolerate such situations and maintain your cool as your reciprocation may prove disastrous
  7. Always give way to a VIP convoy, ambulance or police van, flashing blinkers and blowing sirens, lest you may land in troubles
The Third Person:
  1. Other than the 1st and the 2nd person there are many more entities that influence your concentration while driving. They are the following:
  2. It may be a third vehicle that abruptly appears right in front of you while you are trying to tackle with some other vehicle or road user on move
  3. While you are driving past a vehicle parked on the side of the road, there is every possibility of sudden appearance of some human being or a vehicle from the front of the parked vehicle
  4. Be highly cautious while you are driving past any school
  5. Control your religious sentiments while you drive through a religious place or hear a religious discourse or song played on loudspeakers
  6. Follow adequate precautions and protection while driving against the sun in daytime or against a bright hi-beam headlight at night, dazzling right on your eyes from the front wind shield
  7. Be careful against any vehicle moving along with its head lights or side indicators non-functional
  8. Just imagine about the victim, the photograph of whose mutilated body appears on the newspapers. This photograph may be of any body moving on the roads, out there. The road rage resulting in a death, does not affect the person alone who dies in the accident. Nevertheless, there is a long list of the affected people, victimised, with the loss of that single life. People never keep in their mind that they alone are not the sole owner of their life. Their dependents have the inherent right of ownership on the life of their householder.
  9. Do have patience and keep your cool intact. It is never late to reach the destination. Even if you are going to miss a flight or a train, miss it, but make sure that you are safe and so are others, out on the road. So flash a smile on your face, switch on the music system, set on your smooth drive, and enjoy the rhythm in the movement of your vehicle.
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