Monday, February 26, 2007

Road Rage

This post is about road safety. We might consider it to be trivial issue, but believe me, they are tricky and can be life threatening too.

Incident 1:
In Pune every year, I come across at least one road rage issue, mostly involving autorickshaw drivers. And as a third party witness, there is one case every week.

On Saturday evening, I was driving my car along the narrow Apte road, when suddenly an autorickshaw brushed my vehicle, while overtaking from the left and stopped it front of me.

Earlier, when my car was new, these brushes, dents, bumps use to pain me a lot. However, apart from cold stare, I would not create a scene because it was pointless to create Tamasha for others. These days, I hardly even pay attention and display disappointment.

So I was ready to move on, when this tall, dark and fat rikshaw driver alighted, and started shouting something in Marathi. After a while it dawned on me that the guy claimed I had hit is vehicle so I must alight and pay him. He even started pulling door latch, but since I keep the doors locked it didn't budge.

In the beginning was I amused. But soon he started showing his cocked fists at me. That raised my tempers, but I still did not step out. Meanwhile, Aryan started crying too. I just pulled down the window glass and asked him to beg somewhere else with some other reason, and drove off.

But to think of it, it was a clear cut case of extortion. He himself brushed his vehicle against mine, and instead asked money from me. He thought with a family containing a lady & a small kid with me, and with an Uttar Pradesh vehicle registration number, I would give easy money to avoid trouble. His hundred kilogram body, he thought, was his asset, and his fist wielding would make me piss in my pants.

However, I was better prepared than he thought. I know these arguments can take physical turn. Who knows what someone posses as a weapon it can be a rod, a cycle chain, even a gun. Who knows. And this man was already threatening to go physical.

For my and my family's safety, I keep all the doors of the car locked. Whenever, any such argument takes place, I take out the keys from ignition. And, you wouldn't believe it, but I also keep a small box filled with red chilly powder in the car. Usually, it boils down to the fact that the person who takes the first step is the one who gets lesser harmed.

Till now, I never had to use the chilly powder, but I wouldn't hesitate in using it for my defense. I suggest everyone to take some step for your road safety as well. Its a bad bad world out there.

Incident 2:
This one is a case of Mansik Diwaliyapan of Pune's police. On Saturday night, a couple was driving home when their scooter hit a pothole. Both of them got grievously injured with wife dying of her injuries later. Shockingly, the police has lodged the case of negligent driving against the husband!

What about the potholes and night lamps, Copper ? Incorrigible idiots.