By Gaafar Uherbelau —-

When I hear the term “road rage” I instantly think of a highway somewhere in the US where lines of cars are gridlocked with their drivers frowning and giving each other the single finger universal sign of aggression. It’s a term that I keep thinking I’ll never experience because we don’t have interstate freeways in Palau and I probably won’t have to drive somewhere far for hours. Road rage is a psychological phenomenon that affects motorists in big cities right?

Wrong. I experience it almost every day in Koror and I know most people do as well. It may not be in our culture to be a finger-flipping people when it comes to traffic hostility, but trust me I’ve seen enough windows rolled down in a flash, drivers hurrying to spit into their olbaol so they can tell the other driver how “kebelung” they are. Then 30 seconds later, they turn to the passenger as if they know the answer and asks them, “Ngke ng kelsakl? Ng di milekerang e mou license?”

Oh yes, I know you’ve felt the rage too. It’s that sudden urge to punch someone you get when it’s after 4:30 and you’re heading home after a long day at work then someone cuts in front of you from the middle lane, or when it’s lunch time and a high-school student runs across the road right when you are approaching them or even when a taxi that’s ahead of you suddenly stops, makes a right turn into Surangel and THEN turns on their signal light. It’s also the curse you apply on someone when they overtake you, when say to them, “Diak dil chelid e mo siueklii a bulis me losengebau kau el…”.

So yes, hard to believe it but road rage does exist in our small town community, even if it isn’t too intense. And unless we start providing a “Common Sense in Driving for Dummies” class as a requirement to get a driver’s license, we might as well keep calm and enjoy the drive. But with the way a lot of motorists drive on the streets of Koror, we might as well increase government revenue by installing traffic lights and collect from those who frequently run red lights. And who knows? Maybe we should also fine those who cross the street wherever they like without watching for cars and while they cross, they “meruruul a katelngir”.

But in all seriousness, road rage affects hundreds of people worldwide and is even considered endangerment of public safety in some countries. But I don’t think we need to penalize our angers over crazy driving habits in Palau. We just have to be courteous and exercise good judgment with our safety and the safety of others in mind when driving or walking down the street. And like what some angry drivers tend to remind us, we should always keep in mind that the roads are public roads and they are not ours to walk, drive, or park on as we please.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: