Road rage almost claimed a high profile victim this side of the Arabian Sea. Former Pak bowling superstar and commentator Wasim Akram escaped unscathed when an unidentified person shot at his car tyres.
The incident occurred on Wednesday in Karachi.
The ex-cricketer was on his way to a training camp for young fast bowlers.
“A car hit mine, I stopped him and then this guy stepped out and fired at my car. When I asked the driver to come out he suddenly opened fire at me. He was definitely an official, I have noted the number of the car and given it to the police.
I am still in shock. There was no threat. I was going to to stadium for the camp. Your (media) job is to find out who that person was. If he can do it with me, then you can imagine what he would do with the common man.”
“It was just an accident when I was coming to the stadium. There is lot of rush at this time and I was in the middle lane and a car hit my car from behind. I signaled the driver to come to the side but he tried to make a fool and tried to race off which irritated me a lot
I got a bit frustrated and chased that car and blocked it and while I was standing and arguing with the driver a person stepped out from the back seat holding a gun and pointed it at me. But since the traffic had stopped and people recognized me as Wasim Akram the man than lowered his gun and fired at my car which was very scary.”
Senior police officer Munir Shaikh said:
“This was just an incident of road rage. We have identified the car from CCTV footage and will have the suspect in custody in a couple of hours.”
What is road rage?
According to Wikipedia,
“Road rage is aggressive or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other road vehicle. Such behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately driving in an unsafe or threatening manner, or making threats. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions that result in injuries and even deaths. It can be thought of as an extreme case of aggressive driving.”
Manifestations of road rage include:
- Generally aggressive driving, including sudden acceleration, braking, and close tailgating
- Cutting others off in a lane, or deliberately preventing someone from merging
- Chasing other motorists
- Flashing lights and/or sounding the horn excessively
- Yelling or exhibiting disruptive behavior at roadside establishments
- Driving at high speeds in the median of a highway to terrify drivers in both lanes
- Rude gestures (such as “the finger”, or [especially in Greece] giving mountzes)
- Shouting verbal abuses or threats
- Intentionally causing a collision between vehicles
- Hitting other vehicles
- Assaulting other motorists, their passengers, cyclists, or pedestrians
- Exiting the car to attempt to start confrontations, including striking other vehicles with an object
- Threatening to use or using a firearm or other deadly weapon
- Throwing projectiles from a moving vehicle with the intent of damaging other vehicles
The DMV website advises motorists how to deal with road rage thus:
“You must realize that you can’t control another driver’s behavior, but you can control your own. When another driver cuts you off, how you react will determine what happens next. If you are able to back off, take a deep breath, and remain calm, then you can defuse a potentially violent situation.
True, you might need to vent about the driver tailgating you all the way from town or the overly cautious motorist who consistently drove under the speed limit. Venting your frustration is normal and healthy, so long as you vent appropriately.
Talk to a friend or family member about the driving experience―telling the story can relieve your stress. Some driving clubs or online discussions offer members a chance to vent their frustration.”
Is there a medical basis for road rage?
The DMV page adds:
“In 5% to 7% of the nearly 10,000 drivers studied, road rage behavior was present. A general theory came out of the study, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) was identified as the cause of road rage.
Losing your temper used to be just bad form; now it has a diagnosis and can begin in the early teens. People diagnosed with IED have had multiple outbursts that are way out of proportion to the situation at hand. Generally, someone gets hurt or property is damaged.
Whether or not you believe in a medical basis for road rage, you still need to know how to deal with it. Uncertain situations can escalate unpredictably, and the best advice is to avoid confrontations altogether. If you tend to provoke other drivers or are on the aggressive side of road rage, put some effort into learning new driving habits.
And for those of us who run the middle of the road, maintain those defensive driving skills and keep a watchful eye on developing hazardous situations.”
Driving under the influence gets the headlines especially when accidents involving deaths hit the headlines like the Salman Khan case. However, aggressive and drowsy driving can be equally potent and harmful manifestations of carelessness behind the wheel. Perhaps, it’s time that besides breath analysers, yawn-o-meters and BP monitors are pressed into service by our hardworking defenders of the law. Perhaps, autonomous vehicles—as tested by Google—are not such a bad idea after all. Mass public transit systems always remain an option as long as they are not priced out of reach like the Mumbai Metro system threatens to be. As for raging maniacs, it’s simply ‘commuter rage’ now!
A driver is in charge not just of himself; he is also the steerer of 2000+ pounds of heavy metallic machinery that can cause immense damage when misdirected. It can act like a manned, guided missile.
It is in everyone’s interest if drivers recognise their aggressive tendencies and take steps to prevent untoward and possibly fatal incidents.
Don’t drive drunk.
Don’t drive angry.
Don’t drive sleepy.
As someone once said, “Safety doesn’t happen by accident.”