As road rage cases rise, experts pinpoint poor traffic engineering as key cause

By Shekhar Singh New Delhi, May 7 : Sahil was returning home after a workout in the gym as usual on a recent cold February morning in Delhi. However, that Monday, which could have been a routine winter weekday, saw him embroiled in a scuffle with the driver after his bike brushed against a mini bus. This escalated after some friends of the driver and Sahil's brother reached the spot, leading to an altercation in which Sahil's brother lost his life. Recently, on April 30, in another incident of road rage a man had to cling to the bonnet of an SUV for approximately three kilometres. The incident, captured on camera, occurred around 11 p.m. while the car was going from Ashram Chowk to Nizamuddin Dargah. The man, identified as Chetan, a 30-year-old resident of Govindpuri, miraculously escaped without any injuries. The video of the incident went viral on social media platforms, drawing widespread attention. The victim, Chetan, informed the police that his taxi had been hit lightly by a Land Rover Discovery SUV at Ashram Chowk. Upon Chetan's remonstration, the SUV driver, identified as 35-year-old Ramachal from Bihar's Dumri district, attempted to flee the spot. Chetan resorted to climbing onto the bonnet of the SUV in an effort to prevent Ramachal's escape. Despite Chetan's courageous act, Ramachal managed to drive the SUV all the way to Nizamuddin police station with Chetan still clinging to the bonnet. Finally, a PCR van intercepted the SUV, allowing Chetan to safely disembark. Sources revealed that the car is registered in the name of Member of Parliament Veena Devi, but it was in the possession of MP Chandan Singh at his residence in Delhi. In an effort to explore the underlying factors that lead individuals to resort to violence on the roads, IANS spoke to experts to gain insights into such behaviour. Anger, as an emotional state, exists on a spectrum of intensity, ranging from mild irritation to intense fury and rage, and it is often accompanied by physiological and biological changes. Similar to other emotions, anger can be triggered by both external and internal factors. External factors may include feeling angry towards a particular individual, while internal factors encompass situations such as traffic jams or unfavourable circumstances that provoke anger. By delving into these aspects, we aim to better understand the complex nature of anger and its role in human behaviour on the roads. Dr Nimesh Desai, former director of the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences, said that anger, like any other emotion, is an innate and inherent aspect of human nature, as long as it remains within appropriate boundaries. Dr Desai emphasised that anger can even serve a purpose when it is expressed and conveyed appropriately. He explained that the escalation of anger is often directly associated with a sense of frustration, which can manifest in various ways, whether directed inwardly or towards the external world. In today's society, frustration tends to rise due to increasing aspirations and expectations. He underscored the significance of discerning the distinction between expressing anger and the reality of a situation. "By understanding this distinction, individuals can navigate anger in a constructive manner while acknowledging the nuances between their emotions and the actual circumstances they face," he said. Dr Desai also highlighted the lack of suitable opportunities and circumstances in today's society for the proper expression of frustration. He emphasised that the rising incidents of road rage can be attributed to the accumulation of unresolved frustration. He stressed the importance of establishing mechanisms to address this frustration, such as engaging in open discussions with family and friends. "By creating avenues for communication and support, individuals can effectively curb such incidents and find healthier outlets for their pent-up emotions," he said. Dr Rohit Baluja, president of the Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE), believes that road rage incidents are caused by poor traffic engineering and a lack of respect among road users. He said that it is not just the drivers who are responsible, but all stakeholders involved in the process, including agencies responsible for issuing driving licenses, traffic police, and road construction. Baluja believes that people lose their temper when their right of way is continuously violated, and this can happen to anyone regardless of their age. He explained that the concept of 'right of way' is critical to understanding the problem. At any intersection or junction, one person has the right to go, and the other person has a responsibility to stop. Unfortunately, many road users do not respect the right of way, leading to frustration and anger. Baluja added that the root cause of road rage is a faulty system and governance, and we need to prepare roads in a way that does not provoke anger in drivers. According to Supreme Court advocate Ashok Singh, "road rage" is not specifically defined in criminal law. In cases where a man is the accused and a woman is the victim, it would be registered under sections of the IPC like 354 or 509, whereas, if both are men, it would be registered under sections of the IPC like 323 or 324. Singh stressed the need for the presence of traffic police officers and installation of CCTV cameras to prevent such incidents. "The lack of police presence on highways is a major concern as victims may find it difficult to approach the nearest police post during an attack," he said. Singh suggested that the milestones on highways should include information about the location of the nearest police post. /IANS


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