New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) Motorists, beware of the summer. Every year, as the heat sets in and temperatures rise, the tempers of drivers also head north, causing increased incidents of road rage and aggression on the capital's roads, say psychologists.
"There is a lot of studies on the stress induced by increased temperature, traffic density, pollution and noise and it is clearly one of the triggers for aggression, which causes road rage," psychologist Samir Parekh told IANS.
"Hot, stifling weather can make anyone impatient. The drivers need to be conscious of this problem and should take preemptive steps," he added.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the maximum number of traffic accidents - 122,004 - were reported in the second quarter of 2010, accounting for 26.4 percent of the total 461,757 traffic accidents that year.
The second quarter of the year - through April, May and June - are some of the hottest months in the capital with the maximum temperature often shooting past 40 degrees Celsius.
Parekh said there were counter-measures to beat the heat on the road.
"People should try not to take too much work-related stress. Drivers can beat aggression by drinking a lot of water, taking less crowded routes and not driving for very long."
A hot day can be tough, say motorists.
"With the mercury crossing 40 degrees Celsius in peak summer, non-airconditioned vehicles tend to grow as hot as a furnace. On top of that, if you are stuck in a jam in that heat, you are bound to get angry at anyone and everyone," says Kishore Sharma, a motorcyclist from south Delhi.
"At least we bikers can get some air, even when we stop at traffic lights. People in non-AC cars have no such advantage," he added.
"In summers, if there's no AC in the car, people can faint inside their vehicles due to the stifling heat. No wonder people get irritable," agrees Mohit Ranjan, an engineer from Mayur Vihar in east Delhi.
"I don't take the car to office any more. I park it at the metro station or take a bus. The jams and heat are already too much to handle," Ranjan added.
While joint commissioner of police (traffic) Satyendra Garg agreed that increasing temperatures could cause aggression on the road, he claimed that besides educating the driver, there wasn't much that could be done as it was a "behavioral issue".
"High temperatures certainly have a correlation with aggression on the road, but it is a natural reaction to the stress. It is not something the police can monitor or help with, beyond trying to educate people and create awareness," Garg told IANS.
Pedestrians feel the heat on the capital's roads.
"The roads become a terror in the summers. The drivers are in such a hurry to escape the jams, especially in the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) section, that they drive very fast without bothering about the pedestrians," Shweta Chawla told IANS.
"The BRTS goes right in front of my colony and is a nightmare to cross nowadays," she added.
"Actually, in summers, everyone is in a hurry to get off the road and be inside their homes. Everyone rushes to escape the heat; so no one pays attention to others on the road," Sukhbir Singh, a taxi driver, told IANS.
(Nikhil Walia can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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