BENGALURU: Bengaluru is on edge. Every five days, one person falls victim to road rage in the city, says a senior police officer. Uncharacteristic for a city which prides itself on being “cool”, with road rage, stress and anger issues on the rise. “It is frightening. We don’t know when who will flare up and what kind of clash a small argument can turn into. There are many cases of road rage being registered these days. Approximately four a week, and some of them as serious as stabbing and being hit with cricket bats etc,” said the officer.
While reasons for such rage are many, psychologists and psychiatrists say that other than interpersonal issues and behavioural problems, it could be the city itself. “Chaotic traffic and spending non-productive hours on the roads is not just eating into leisure and family time, but also forcing people to make compromises on their deliverability at work. The result is stress and its byproducts are road rage, anger issues, hypertension etc,” said Ashwini A, a clinical psychologist.
It is scary for commuters too. Some have started gathering tips from psychologists and traffic cops to ensure they don’t end up being beaten up when someone breaks out into road rage. “I do get angry but I am now scared to retaliate or shout at people. I don’t know what weapons people carry in their cars, or what their state of mind is. I think being young and a woman makes me more vulnerable, so I keep quiet,” said Sarika Narayan, a business analyst.
Another software engineer said whenever he senses that an argument on the road might turn serious, he “pretends to be deaf or blind and presses forward”. Interestingly, a recent research report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine states that driving more than 16km each way, to and from work, is associated with higher blood pressure and blood sugar.
Psychologist Dr Mahesh S said that aggressive driving can range from mild displays of anger, such as not maintaining a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead, to more serious forms of violence such as physical assault and accidents.
“The term ‘road rage’ reveals that rage is an extreme, energised state of anger which has accumulated and been suppressed for some time, and finds expression in such behaviour,” he said. He explained that there are two types of anger: ‘Trait anger’ and ‘State anger’. “Trait anger is where people are prone to getting angry, while state anger is reactions to situations which are provocative at a particular point,” he said.
Meanwhile, a senior traffic police officer said that people should refrain from getting into altercations on the road as it is extremely dangerous and could even take lives. He warned that because one does not know the emotional state of the other person, all motorists should “exercise self-control and restraint and not get involved in any aggressive driving incidents”.
Avoid going off the deep end
- Make sure you get enough sleep
- Give yourself plenty of time to reach destination
- Listen to soothing music, concentrate on breathing
- Don’t show displeasureto other drivers
- Avoid venting
- Control your anger
- Don't take traffic problems personally
- Avoid making eye contact with an aggressive driver
- Don't make obscene gestures
- Use horn sparingly
- Don't block lanes
- February 2019: A 38-year-old autorickshaw driver battled for life after he was allegedly punched by an MBA student on Kadubeesanahalli flyover.
- November 2018: Cab driver allegedly followed singer Vasundhara Das for more than 4km, blocking her way twice to abuse her in filthy language.
- September 2018: Pawan Kumar (26), an employee of a tours and travels firm, stabbed to death by two rowdy-sheeters at Chikkabidarakallu bus stop in Madanayakanahalli, after an altercation.
- August 2017: Kannada actor Jaggesh's son stabbed on his thigh by stranger in a road rage incident in RT Nagar.