Traffic Altercations and Road Rage: Avoidance

Once again the shooting and wounding of a girl in a traffic altercation in Quezon City has sparked outrage at gun ownership. The driver of the victim's car was her father who had gotten into a near collision with another car, then some heated words and dagger looks were exchanged and then shots rang out. There is now a police manhunt for the shooter.

Road rages or traffic altercations, especially in the Philippines, can easily turn deadly such as this incident. Since the kiling of student Eldon Maguan by Rolito Go back in 1990, likewise due to a traffic altercation (Go's car met with the victim's car in a one way street), serious concern has been raised about the safety of driving in our streets. To be certain, Attitude plays a big role in whether or not a simple traffic altercation can escalate into a road rage. In any situation, driving or not, it is never a wise move to provoke other people by harsh and angry words or simple dagger looks. Filipinos being who they are, are usually very sensitive to such attitudes which they view as offensive. Unlike other cultures, simple mean looks can result in tragic deadly encounters.

AVOIDANCE is therefore the prudent way to go when dealing with erring drivers. PATIENCE is also a virtue in such situations, since you do not want the situation to escalate from a heated argument into a full blown fight. In short, leave traffic enforcement to traffic enforcers, and stick to your own driving.

Is this a gun problem? No it is a Filipino ATTITUDE PROBLEM. We see pride in everything; especially when we think that we are always correct and never make mistakes, which is false. Instead of shouting at another driver for a wrong move, look at your own mistakes and see how you got away with it by being forgiven by someone else.

Years ago, my driver unavoidably cut a car along C5. The car was a typical one driven by military or police: a beat up old box type lancer. I could tell immediately that the lone driver was a policeman from the way he looked. He also had some sort of uniform upper draped over his front seat. The driver started giving us "the look" of someone who was pissed. I expected him to pull out a gun. I avoided giving him a counter "look" which I knew would further infuriate him and escalate the situation. Instead I immediately gave him back my most apologetic face, raised my hand as if to surrender, and gave him my sweetest "pasensya na kayo boss." He was still visibly angry, but I had not given him any reason to get down and fight with me. So he slowly faced forward and drove away ahead of us. I told my driver to slow down and let him get further ahead till he was gone.

Stay Safe.


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