Road Rage

From the Bangalore edition of the Times of India:

The traffic police say road rage is the main cause of accidents in the 31-50 age group, making them more vulnerable. “Most accidents that occur among this group happen in a fit of rage. Road users get annoyed if others overtake them. In retaliation, they drive dangerously and violate traffic rules, resulting in accidents. Since they don’t have licences and are afraid of being caught by the police, they drive recklessly, killing or injuring themselves or other road users,’’ explained the police.

The Times of India likes to talk about road rage.

Let me put this into a bit of perspective. Westerners readily throw hissy fits at the slightest violations of customs. A couple of months ago, I witnessed a station wagon pull into the left lane to overtake another vehicle on a German autobahn. In doing so, he blocked the way of a Porsche with Swiss plates whose driver flew into a fit of rage because this plebeian Opel was blocking his god given right to drive 200km/h; ironically on a stretch of A5 with a 130km/h speed limit where everyone was already doing 150. He kept swerving to cut the Opel off and could have killed several people. He could have just slowed to 150kmph for a few seconds, allowed the Opel to complete the pass and move back into the middle lane and gone about his merry way. The Opel cost him just a few seconds of his travel time and anyway, it was a speed zone and he should not have been driving that fast. I was angry at myself that it took too long to grab my mobile and film the scene. I’m sure the Baden Wurttemberg Police would have happily relieved him of his driver’s license.

On the roads here, I have seen just about every sort of low speed insanity that I thought imaginable and a lot more. I’ve been passed by motorcycles that had barely enough space to fit be between each other in between us and the truck on the other side. I’ve seen goats being brought out into the road into rush hour traffic. I’ve seen intersections where the vehicles seem to be weaving among each other and going in every direction imaginable. I’ve seen vehicles cut each other off in a myriad of ways. I’ve seen rickshaws and motorcycles drive through the oncoming traffic to get an edge. The traffic here makes even Rome’s infamously chaotic traffic seem orderly in comparison.

I am constantly amazed at how relaxed Indian drivers are on the road and how unperturbed they are for blatant rules of the road violations to their detriment while they happily commit the same violations. What I never see is the road rage that the newspaper men allude to.

Oh and if you are Swiss, drive a Porsche and were on A5 between Karlsruhe and Heidelberg earlier this year: you are a complete asshat!

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2 responses to “Road Rage

  1. Quirky Indian

    Do you think you could bring yourself to drive in India? Fortunately, in Bangalore, the traffic, though very chaotic, is low speed because of the congestion.

  2. Perhaps on Sundays when the roads are relatively clear. They actively discourage me from driving the company car and insist that we hire a drier.

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