Metro Manila traffic has the unique power of unleashing the inner savage within even the most decent of motorists. Intense heat, apocalyptic road congestion, irresponsible drivers, lazy law enforcers–all these have motorists abusing their car horns and shouting expletives at each other. This is where road rage begins.
Recent road rage statistics say 8 out of 10 drivers admit to exhibiting aggressive behavior at least once a year, while 9 out 10 drivers think of aggressive driving as a threat to their personal safety.
Road rage should have no place in a civilized society. But there clearly are undeniable reasons that warrant it, and if you know these scenarios start, then maybe you can save some lives (not least of which would be your own).
How do road rage situations begin? And what can we do to prevent ourselves going full-on The Hulk on the streets?
1. Aggressive driving
The Philippines has way too many undisciplined drivers. From unrelenting jeepney drivers who stop at no loading zones, to buses bullying smaller vehicles, all roads big and small pose different sorts of threats.
With unlawfulness prevailing on the streets, it’s no surprise that people become aggressive drivers.
What is aggressive driving? According to motoring journalist Ulysses Ang, it is “a combination of moving traffic offenses as to endanger other persons or property.”
While it is not the same as road rage, the two are closely related as aggressive drivers are more prone to road rage. In addition, driving with reckless abandon can cause other drivers to lose their temper—and it can bite back at you in the worst of ways.
2. Honking impatiently
Some drivers are keen to pound the horn, using and abusing it even at the worst possible time. But the fact is, no matter how many times you blow your horn, traffic won’t magically disappear. Sometimes, it can lead to casualties.
In 2009, six people were killed when a traffic argument turned into a gunfight between two parties. According to ABS-CBN News, the Bautista family parked their car along the road to unload ice at a public market in Cavite, when a certain Mahmod Sultan, driving with his son Salie, started honking impatiently.
This subsequently led to an argument and threats. Later on, Sultan and Salie came back with firearms and a gunfight ensued, resulting in fatalities.
3. Using high-beam headlights inappropriately
Ideally, high beam headlights should only be used when there is no vehicle in front of you, or on country roads where there is inadequate street lighting.
With your high beams, drivers on the opposite lane will see your light even if you’re still far away. But if you’re driving in the city where there is a high volume of cars, it is common courtesy to lower your headlights to avoid blinding other drivers.
A nine-year old kid was a recent victim of an incident between her father and another motorist. She was shot by a man who took the request to lower his high beams badly.
According to a Facebook post republished by When in Manila, the victim’s father came across an SUV with bright lights that impaired his vision. When they met side by side, the aggrieved party asked the SUV driver to lower his lights, but the latter did not take it well.
A few moments later, three gunshots rang in the air, and they found out that their daughter sustained a bullet wound, causing liver and kidney damage.
Can counterflowing ever be justified? Not at all. And in case you badly need to counter-flow due to obstruction, you can use your hazard lights to notify them that you’re carefully treading the opposite lane. However, recklessly speeding while on the other lane will not just make you prone to accidents, but will also incur the ire of other motorists too.
Just last June, three people were injured when an argument about counterflowing resulted in an exchange of bullets between a cop and a retired US Army officer.
According to ABS-CBN News, Northern Police District member Rodel dela Cruz had a heated exchange with former US Army officer Narson Francisco and his passenger when the latter tried to avoid a hump without signaling to opposing traffic. What started as a incendiary exchange between the three escalated to a terrible shootout.
5. During accidents: letting your emotions get the best of you
Last February, a 27-year old male motorcycle rider was shot dead after a disagreement between him and a driver of an SUV went awry. According to a report by the Philippine Star, the driver of the SUV sideswiped the other party, which led the motorcyclist to confront the SUV driver.
In the heat of their argument, the SUV driver pulled a gun on the victim and shot him in the face. The motorcycle driver died from the gunshot.
In times of side collision, or any type of collision for that matter, it’s important to keep cool and never let your emotions get the best of you even if you’re the aggravated party.
If you’re at fault, don’t get defensive instantly. You’ll be surprised how a simple sideswipe can be resolved by a handshake and a car insurance claim.