Road Rage is unbridled anger unleashed without consideration to consequences. Accidents and deaths due to road rage are continually increasing year on year. As the authorities and society try it’s best to curb the wild incidents, the solution lies elsewhere. We will be looking at some cute mice at the end of this post – but what is the relevance?
The roads with their signals and traffic rules should be fail-safe to avoid accidents. However, the deaths on city roads increase all the time. While drunken driving is one thing, several other accidents happen on an impulse of rage. In 2015, the number of recorded signal jumps was about 329,000 cases and there were 45,158 cases of over-speeding, The most horrific accidents are recorded near flyovers and junctions – where everyone is rushing to move forward. The important question is “What causes our rage?”
Many in the corporate realm attribute rash driving and snarling at other riders to office stress. Which means you’d expect them to be calm and relaxed on weekends and on vacations – which is not always the case. In 2015, a Deloitte employee in Hyderabad who was celebrating time off with his friends went on a racing spree. While trying to cut through a red signal in a crowded junction, he ran over a family on a bike – killing the mother and injuring the father very seriously. Ideally, he should have been enjoying his time off and should have been calmer.
Time is the primary performance indicator of all professional drivers. Be it a bus, lorry, or cab driver, they all seem to be in a race to cut all passengers off the road. Anyone trying to overtake one of these enraged drivers, could end up eating the kerb or worse. However, they should be calmer since it is their duty to drive safe and they should be more cautious since it is their livelihood.
Retaliation Against Those Not Abiding By the Law
Some drivers only respond with rage when they find someone driving with no concern regarding others or the law. Like those driving in the wrong direction, they are bound to have someone react violently to their actions. Even something as minor as excessive honking can instigate a strong reaction.
We abide by the law, but when someone is unjust and makes us suffer, we retaliate back with a vengeance. We will take him down the road! I get most angry when people don’t give way to an ambulance in urgency
– A bike rider in his late fifties.
Cities and Towns
Road Rage is the highest in cities and most, in the crowded ones. Delhi, for instance, shows the highest count of road rage cases. In 2015, the Delhi Assistant Commissioner of Police became a victim of road rage that sent him to the hospital. In 2016, again in Delhi, a UP businessman shot a 25-year-old factory owner at point blank range following an argument over their SUVs scraping against each other. Road Rage is observed and highest in the cities.
On the other hand, in less-populated districts like Ariyalur in Tamilnadu, Road Rage has never been reported. However, the crime rate in the district is one of the highest, which means there is no shortage of felons or people of violent personality.
To add, higher populated places like Coimbatore and Madurai in Tamilnadu have increased reports of road rage. The Avinashi Road in Coimbatore is a hot spot for road rage and has often reported accidents, fist fights, violent arguments, and even assaults. In Madurai, which is popular for hot-headed people, reports of an auto driver being stabbed over a minor accident surfaced just recently.
Pop Goes the Weasel
The real cause for violent reactions in a traffic scenario is congestion. We have too many people on the roads and everyone is on or in a vehicle. As a society and as a community, we have just too many vehicles per driver or per family. As living beings, we have a natural aversion towards overpopulation and congestion. The moment there are more of your species around, natural care towards them lowers and aggression increases. This instinct has also been observed in crowded prisons. This behaviour is deeply coded into our DNA to avert overpopulation and to stay true to our survival instincts.
Best of all, one could see this condition in nature, according to a study in 1962 by Calhoun on mice.
Previous research has found that if a population were allowed to exceed a comfortable density level, then many catastrophic events occurred such as increased mortality among the young, cannibalism, homosexuality, and lack of maternal functions.
– excerpt from a thesis by James Robert Hammock