A man who had gone out with his four year-old son, suddenly realized it was late and he was too drunk, knowing that the traffic had previously launched an operation on drunk driving, he decided to give his son an equally high amounts of alcohol.
So when the traffic stopped him and placed a breathalyzer in his mouth, the traffic officer was shocked by the high levels of alcohol it was reading, so to confirm whether the breathalyzer was still functioning well he placed it in the young boy’s mouth and it read an equally high alcoholic level, that’s when the officer thought the machine was faulty and he let the man go free.
People have sought many ways of overcoming or getting rid of road rage because it has not only led to fines and imprisonments but it has resulted into death for many people around the world, who find themselves in the middle of gun fire and other nasty situations.
“You’re young, you’re male, you’re single and you’re prone to road rage” that is one of the messages sent to young people who were being trained on how to overcome road rage scenarios through anger management. Road rage is the aggressive or angry behavior depicted by a driver of an automobile or other motor vehicle. Such behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately driving in an unsafe or threatening manner, or making threats.
Road rage is probably one of the most difficult situations to avoid, the situation cuts across all road users from pedestrians verbally abusing reckless motorists, paranoid motorists cursing or insulting traffic officers and many other cases.
There is barely a day when a person doesn’t encounter a road rage situation, man is made up of emotions of anger, sadness and happiness and while on the road it is inherently easy for emotions of anger to come out.
Road rage has been strongly linked to driving above the speed limit, receiving traffic fines, being involved in collisions and carrying firearms while driving.
A recent road rage research which was conducted in countries where road rage is highest in a period of one year, 95 percent of men aged between 18 and 25 claimed to have been victims of at least one road rage case and 87 percent admitted to have behaved aggressively while driving.
In a recent operation by the Rwanda National Police to curb drunken driving, a flamboyant cab driver I had hired in the night to take me home after a lazy evening, refused to comply and put the breathalyzer in his mouth.
He cited hygiene concerns, however, the traffic officer feeling offended pulled him out and the next thing I saw was the two men grabbing each other’s necks.
A lofty fine was written for the cab driver and his driving permit confiscated but he said he will suffer the consequences but not ‘kiss that damn thing!’
I sensed a clash of egos between these two men and each wanted to prove to the other that they are more ‘big-headed’. This is a common scenario in cases of road rage.
Most people have found themselves in road rage scenarios purely due to driving under the influence which has subjected them to aggressive driving behaviors, expressions of annoyance as well as use of obscene language and gestures.
Opportunities need to be created to provide the necessary skills to deal with stress or anger in the traffic environment. Intervention strategies should include education, awareness and training.
An important challenge would be to foster a culture of responsible road users that were not only aware but realized the dangers of driver aggression.
Jean Damascene Iyamuremye, a truck driver in Kigali said that in his 8 years as a driver he has encountered many situations prompting his emotional outburst on the road. He revealed that he has tried his best to stay under control but sometimes he succumbs to anger outbursts.
He narrated an incident where he parked his truck and went straight and slapped a reckless driver who had given him a hard time driving on the road.
“After slapping him he woke up, because he apologized to me and realized how irresponsibly he had been driving,” Iyamuremye said.
“I have never physically assaulted anyone else since then, but I get tempted to do so every now and then” he added.