High on driving and '*&^%$#' abuse too

High on driving and '*&^%$#' abuse too

High on driving and '*&^%$#' abuse too

While manoeuvering her Santro out of a narrow parking lot, Sabhyata Prakash encounters a taxi from the opposite side that ends up making a dent on her car door. She shouts, “B*******d” and later confesses, “I have become more abusive since I started driving.”

Delhi roads are a procla­i­m­ed nuisance but bad traffic makes the situation much worse. Times were when driving was a pleasure but that no longer holds true for those battling it out on roads everyday. Since all the other drivers seem to be conspiring against you to ensure that you miss reaching your destination on time, every time, you feel you have a license to abuse.

Add to that, hours getting shorter, destinations getting further ; jobs demanding more and more of your time,  only serve to make life more tough and one is constantly on edge when behind the wheel.  

But abuse? What purpose does it serve Metrolife enquires of Delhiites, especially since there is a very fine line separating abuse from road rage. “Driving brings out the negative in us because one is navigating through people who swear by abuse. It is so irritating to drive these days because there is immense traffic and everybody wants to outdo the other and thus we end up abusing at even the slightest folly,” Sabhyata explains. She also feels that one never admits one’s mistakes but always remembers where the other person went wrong.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a Delhiite or have come in from another city, like Sarangapani Mahanta who hails from Assam. He learned driving four months back and was taken aback to encounter rowdy drivers in the national capital. “There are traffic jams in Guwahati also but here, the three wheelers and two wheelers take such abrupt turns that no matter how cautious one is, the moment they falter, one tends to abuse.”

Abhinav Sood, who has been driving for the last 17 years feels that the root cause of increase in abusive behaviour is decrease in “patience levels as compared to earlier. We live in the computerised age where while focusing on a particular thing for long is becoming difficult. Patience is limited and that is why we often end up banging the mouse when computer takes even a second longer than necessary to serve up whatever we’ve ordered. Similarly, while driving a car, you have a windscreen and the time you mentally give to the traffic in front is about 30 seconds to a minute max (sic), after which you start abusing!”

Madhuri Chawla has been driving for over 28 years. She  shares that there used to be hardly any traffic earlier and everyone followed rules, but with over-crowding and open flouting of rules nowadays, “it is irritating when someone in the next vehicle breaks the rules. I give them dirty looks and shout at them... not that they can hear because my windows are rolled up.”

There are also those who abuse but feel apologetic later. Navneet Kaur, who has been driving for the last five years, is one among many who feels guilty but later tries to reason with herself. “When I used to travel in car earlier, I never felt the need to yell at anybody but since I have been driving, there have been times when I have not just shouted but badly abused the other driver.

“I do feel bad but then how does one vent one’s frustration,” she asks.  It is not easy being stuck on the wrong side of bad traffic and on road frustration could be stemming from another issue but who has the time to analyse when abuse and aggression seem to be the rule rather than the exception.