If you live in India, you must have experienced road rage, or seen it yourself. I’ve experienced it and seen it. Both. My personal experience was a mild one, but the road rage incident I saw was violent.
I was driving slowly, because I was nearing a toll booth. This upset the rowdy driving behind me, so once we passed the toll booth, he overtook me, made an obscene gesture, and then overtook me and got in front of my car, in the same lane. He drove in first gear for the next ten minutes. It was stupid and crazy. Could not imagine that a grown man with a family could behave in this manner. No doubt the man needed a psychiatrist.
The road rage incident I saw involved a rickshaw driver, and I was in his rickshaw. A motor cycle overtook us from the wrong side, and the rickshaw driver said something. The motor cyclist got down, stopped the rick, and started kicking and hitting the rick driver. Then he called his friends. I got down. And witnessed a bunch of four guys beat the hapless rick driver to a pulp. I guess I was lucky that nothing happened to me. A crowd had collected, and I melted into the crowd.
These types of incidents are common on Indian roads. Dime a dozen. Most are not reported because they are far too common, often minor. By minor I mean no deaths.
At times people get seriously hurt or they die. Here are 11 horrific cases of deaths due to road rage.
The rich and famous get away. Take this case of cricketer politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s conviction in 1988 Patiala road rage case. Today, he is a Cabinet minister. Things could change though. First Post reported just yesterday that the Punjab government has asked the Supreme Court to uphold Sidhu’s conviction.
Here are some statistics:
The overall cases of road rage and rash driving in the country amounted to 4,51,069, which means almost 33 people out of every 1,00,000 unleashed their wrath while driving on Indian roads.
Some reasons for road rage are given here in this Hindustan Times article. Reasons like congested roads, over crowding, which increases aggression. Add to this lack of traffic policing, and economic hardships. It’s a recipe for disaster.
And one more thing. In India few people see counselors and mental health professionals. It’s not a done thing. And even those who do, are allowed to drive. So hit and run is not just about drunk driving or rash driving. It could also be about a disturbed person driving into people on purpose. There was this driver of an ST bus in Pune. He rammed his bus deliberately into a crowd, killing 8 people. And no it wasn’t a case of terrorism. It was because the man was taking treatment for a “mental condition” but he was allowed to take the bus out.