Sunday, March 11, 2007

Road Rage

I finally witnessed my first fender-bender today. Witnessed it from inside one of the cars with the bending fenders. It wasn’t so much a bend as a scrape. The other car thought its dimensions would allow it to squeeze by my taxi. It was wrong. I just happened to turn my head as the car started going by and I thought, “This is gonna be close.” But so often I’d seen the maneuver done successfully in the past when I was convinced it would fail, I figured this time it would work out, too. Nope. Sckeee-rape.

More intriguing was the aftermath. If I haven’t made it clear before, these roads are narrow and jam packed with a variety of vehicles. The “traffic light” had just turned green and we were the second car in “line”. After the scraping did the two cars pull over to the side and get out of the way? No. They stayed just where they were, rolled down their windows and started yelling at each other in Tamil. I couldn't understand a word of their shouted exchange but I'm pretty sure it wasn't, "Pardon me, dear sir, for my vehicle's most terrible obstruction of your glorious right-of-way." "Think nothing of it. Here, allow me to pay for the damages to your most splendid conveyance."

It’s at this point I’m thankful I’m in India. I mean, at least I didn’t have to worry about seeing the barrel of a .38 poke out one of the back windows (Hi, my name is Eric and I live in Oakland). Meanwhile, everyone else is honking, and honking some more. The motorcycles and bicycles that managed to squeeze by either yell at the obstruction or make some sort of arm gesture. (Gee, I wonder what that means?). After 2 minutes or so of yelling the windows roll back up and the cars drive off. That’s it. No exchange of info or anything. Unless, of course, they were yelling insurance information at each other.

At least we didn’t hit a pedestrian. One of the travel sites I read said that if you’re in a taxi that hits a ped or a cow you should get out and run as onlookers have been known drag the driver (and sometimes the passengers) out and beat them. Dave suggested I take the initiative and drag the driver out and start beating him myself.

1 comment:

virgin_at_heart said...


Don't do what you wrote in your comments ( i.e. taking initiative to beat the driver ). Its simpler to get out. Pay the driver and leave the spot. You can always hire another cab.

A regular.