You may think that the pandemic, lockdown and WFH routine has subsequently led to lesser vehicles on the roads and, in turn, fewer road rage cases and accidents. On the contrary, authorities say that the number has in fact gone up! In Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, this surge in road accidents has also led to citizens demanding better rules for road safety during this crisis. As the data is clearly indicative of this alarming trend, we speak to experts and vehicle users to know if road rage has truly increased over the last few months.
Fast driving, disregard for traffic rules on the rise
In the recent weeks itself, Pune-based HR generalist Prerana C, happened to closely escape accidents twice on Baner road. “A lot of vehicles keep going straight and then suddenly swerve to the right or left at intersections, without turning the indicators on. I almost ran into a bike rider due to this confusion last week,” she shares.
In Madhya Pradesh, senior constable of Indore Traffic Police, Ranjit Singh, popularly known as dancing cop, says that in the last month he had to take about seven people to the hospital after they had accidents due to speeding and jumping traffic signals. “People think road khaali hai toh speed mein nikal jaate hain. For a road that has a speed limit of 40km/hr, people are driving at 80km/hr, and most of them are jumping signals thinking who is going to monitor in these times when there are fewer vehicles on the roads,” he says adding that this has been leading to many accidents.
Why are the incidents of road-rage on the rise?
While taking liberty to speed on less crowded roads is one of the reasons, experts also point out that people are not driving as carefully as they used to before. “Given the times that we are in, most people have too many things on their minds that keep them distracted. Some are afraid of getting too close to someone for the risk of getting infected, while others, especially youngsters, are restless after being cooped inside the homes for so long. This has led to them seeking the thrill of speed, and simultaneously, more accidents or cases of road rage,” explains Dr Swapna Nair, a Delhi-based psychologist. She adds that the lockdown and disruption of normal routine has also increased the anger quotient in everyone.
How to check the rise in roadrage?
Karuna Raina, associate director for policy advocacy and research at SavingLife Foundation, suggests some measures to check the spike in road accidents and road rage:
– Enforcement of road safety and traffic rules with stricter penalties
– Stricter patrolling by traffic police to keep a tab on speed barriers and over speeding
– Random selection of areas for patrolling, for better control
– Following traffic rules on empty roads is a must tooSource: Times of India