As I calmly slam on anchors, right in the middle of the traffic circle, to avoid the silver Mercedes that didn’t bother to give me right of way, I begin to understand the concept of road-rage. I am able to do this from a point of detached reality, as I had made up my mind some time back, not to let traffic and bad driving, get to me anymore.
The question that always comes to mind first for me, is this: Was the ‘bad’ driver ignorant of what they did, or are they just being arrogant and deliberate? The former I can more easily excuse, than the latter. But before I even begin with this, I need to state that the bad driving phenomenon is NOT restricted to our ‘beloved’ taxis. I’d say they only contribute to about half of my near death experiences on the road.
Now let’s consider the first scenario. Let’s say for the sake of this experiment that the drivers who jump red lights, change lanes or turn without indicating, and stop in the middle of nowhere, don’t realize that this is wrong.
Obviously the driver can see all the other road users, so it must boil down to diminished intellect that would motivate that driver carry on as they see fit, without adhering to the rules of the road. Even a marginally intelligent person who ‘acquired’ his or her license by nefarious means, can see the dangers in bad driving. It’s logical. If you don’t end up in an accident, you will most definitely boil the blood of other road users and possibly spark a road rage incident.
The conclusion I have to come to when considering bad drivers who don’t know they are driving badly, is that they are in some way mentally challenged, and thus should not even be allowed behind the wheel to start with.
Far more concerning, however, is the second scenario. The drivers know what they are doing is wrong and dangerous, and yet still choose to do it. They are simply being arrogant and inconsiderate road users.
I do battle to comprehend the kind of person who can quite easily flick a finger to turn on an indicator, or can glance at the rearview mirror to check if the lanes are clear, and yet chooses not to do so. Does the onus fall on the vehicle about to be sideswiped to swerve out of the way? I don’t think so.
The arrogance of that driver will again become apparent when they get into a huff at being confronted by the offended other driver, and taken to task about their actions. Some may blame the angry driver for not letting it go and causing a road rage incident, but I blame the bad driver for instigating it in the first place. There could be no chance of an incident ever occurring, if they just drove properly.
What also scares me, when it comes to this second category of bad drivers, is that it is not age specific. The arrogant driver ranges from the teenager, full of the brashness of youth, who is rallying against the establishment and all its laws, to the elderly businessman who feels that with all he has achieved in life, he is somehow entitled to certain liberties on the road.
These arrogant drivers have to realize something quite important. If they feel justified to act the way they do, then so do others. Where does it end? Quite possibly in a situation where someone dear to one of those arrogant drivers becomes a victim of yet another arrogant driver. That driver would only have been doing what the arrogant driver condoned by his very own actions.
As for the mentally challenged drivers? Well, hopefully a few readers might see this and think it’s time to hang up the keys for good. Alternatively just pray the Traffic Officers spot them and haul them off the road before they become a statistic.
By Peter Truter
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