Each day thousands fall victims to road rage. A little care during the drive can save many a life. Repeated honking, blocking the way for others, worries about reaching destinations late, tailgating, traffic diversions and sudden restrictions and using cell phone while driving are factors that cause shooting up of blood pressure, often leading to fisticuffs among motorists

A car showroom executive, 28-year-old Prasad was turning left towards Ramnagar at VST crossroads on his bike when he was forced to slam on the brakes. An auto-rickshaw driver halted at the turn, blocking the way for other vehicles.

Despite honking, the three-wheeler driver didn’t make an attempt to move.

Unmindful of the other vehicles behind him, he leisurely bargained with some passengers and moved forward only after they got into his vehicle. Annoyed at the indifferent attitude of the driver, Prasad yelled at him: “Why don’t you bargain with passengers after moving a few feet away?”

“Just shut up and move on” was the driver’s callous reply. That was enough for Prasad to pick an argument with him. Soon it turned physical, and the auto driver held Prasad by the collar and called his friends. Within a few minutes, nearly 10 persons reached the spot and beat up Prasad black and blue.

This is not an isolated instance of road rage where a motorist, who is not at fault, is verbally abused, physically assaulted or even threatened.

Almost every motorist in Hyderabad would have had similar experience. The reasons behind road rage may vary, but it has become an everyday experience for Hyderabadis when they venture out on roads.

Repeated honking, stopping vehicle even as blocking the way for others, worries about reaching destinations late, tailgating or someone driving too closely behind, traffic diversions and sudden restrictions, driving while listening to music, driving while speaking on phone, traffic snarls, being cut off by other vehicle drivers…there are innumerable factors that result in the shooting up of blood pressure, often leading to fisticuffs between motorists.

The recent incident involving actor Ram Charan Tej and two private sector employees triggered heated discussions about the impatience of motorists and the “powerful and influential” getting away with whatever they do on roads.

While the actor and the “victims” came out with their own versions, many condemned unequivocally two policemen in safari – who the actor claimed were his security guards – thrashing the duo.

The worst instance of road rage in the city was reported at Malkajgiri six weeks ago. A GHMC contract worker, B. Swamy, was on his way home on his moped when he hit a motorcyclist, Narsing Rao, near Green Bawarchi restaurant.

Rao suffered injuries and chased Swamy on his bike as the latter didn’t stop.

Along with his friends, Rao caught up with Swamy at the GHMC garbage station and roughed him up. By the time Swamy’s friends arrived at the spot, he was dead.

“Unfortunately, even well-educated people indulge in such atrocious behaviour. Many times I have seen motorists stop vehicles even on flyovers and argue with other motorists, unmindful of the traffic jam they create, troubling thousands of commuters,” says a traffic police officer. Incidentally, the traffic police too are not sure how road rage can be controlled, if not prevented.

Since the Metro rail work on different trunk routes is progressing, detours and traffic congestions will become the order of the day for the next couple of years.

“Impatient behaviour of drivers leading to quarrels on roads will only add to the chaos. But, are the traffic police doing their bit is a question,” says Veerabhadram of Himayathnagar.

Customers at an ice-cream parlour near Anand theatre on Begumpet-Secunderabad route – where the Metro rail work is in progress – park cars along the road.

The road carriageway has already been reduced, with metal sheet barricades being erected, thanks to Metro rail work. Vehicle parking in front of the parlour forces motorists to slow down during evening peak hours.

“Naturally, motorists would shout at the shop management and vehicle owners, triggering road rage. Why can’t the traffic police act at least on such issues?” ask motorists.

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