Stupid is as Stupid Does: Speeding, Rage and Idiotic Driving

The last two weeks have seen all of the above, singly or in combination hitting the headlines. Someone burning with road rage, overtook a car near the airport dragged the driver to the car, drove off with him, then dropped him, in the process running over him and killing him. Speeding cars on the Sealink collided with each other and resulted in fatalities. Another car idiotically made an illegal U-turn on the Sealink and was run into by another car coming from the opposite direction.
All of us at some point or the other have probably succumbed to one of these three deadly sins.
Road rage is perhaps the most difficult to handle, especially when young. The older you get though, the more willing you are to let others have the right of way. When I was younger, if anyone were to cut in front of me or overtake illegally, I would completely lose it. The first reaction invariably would be to try and overtake the person and then bad-mouth him. At times, I would get in front and then slow down or brake hard. Often, the overwhelming emotion would be to anyhow hurt the person. Today, though older and a shade more restrained, I still have to sometimes make a conscious effort to control myself. Road rage is stupid and has bad consequences both for the person who is affected and also the person against whom it is directed. Both lose, especially the person who is raging…there are always physical and emotional consequences of such a heightened animalistic, “flight-or-fight” response.
Speeding is stupid as well, and also difficult to control, when young, given its endorphin releasing, positive drug-like kick.  I still remember the first time I hit the Expressway in my Honda City and then kept the accelerator pressed all the way to Lonavla, without any hindrance.  In the city of course, it’s very difficult to speed and trying to do so during the day only leads to a jerky, brake-race-brake experience. But sometimes in the early mornings or late at night, you can still find some stretches that are safe and empty of all kinds of traffic, and then it gets really difficult to resist ripping through.
When I look back the stupid things we did when young, I shudder and hope that I will be able to prevent my kids from doing the same things. Races on the Worli Sea-Face road at night, Sion to the Taj in 12 1/2 minutes at 2.00AM in the morning, Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar in 3 hours on the National Express Highway…jeez! At that age, the consequences of something going wrong are not even on one’s horizon and it is only when you grow older and have a family and other people dependant on you, does the extent of this stupidity finally dawn!
Idiotic driving however takes the cake and perhaps is one reason why others get road rage! What do you do with a person who suddenly brakes to take a right or “U-turn”, without giving a signal and forces you to brake hard, to avoid hitting him? What is your response when someone drives bang in the middle of a two-lane road, not letting anyone pass by on either side? How do you react when someone tailgates you and then cuts in front of you without warning, or goes suddenly from left to right or right to left forcing you to react evasively?
Road age, speeding and idiotic driving! All interconnected! All difficult to control! And, all potentially fatal!

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