If you’re a driver like me, I’m sure you’ve experienced something I shall call “the-sideways-road-rage-glare”. This happens when you happen to be occupying the outermost lane on a road or highway. Invariably (due to the Tailgater Law i.e. anytime one enters the fastest lane, a tailgater shall appear directly behind), another driver will come up behind you and begin to obnoxiously tailgate you. This may be accompanied by other symptoms like furiously high-beaming headlights, honks, or even rude hand signals. Cowed by such a blatant display of dissatisfaction, you change to the next lane, whereupon the driver behind zooms forward, and as he/she passes you, gives you the-sideways-road-rage-glare.
This glare, I suppose, is intended to cause further intimidation through strategic use of facial expressions like a furrowed brow, clenched teeth or scowl. I, for one, do not know the best response to this sideways-road-rage-glare. Sometimes, when I’m feeling defiant and slightly pissed off myself, I’ll return the glare with one of my own. But other times, I find a cool, feigned ignorance to be a better alternative. And sometimes when I’m super kuai lan, I’ll smile sweetly, or not even give way in the first place. But what is it about driving that brings out the worst in some? I’ve heard cases where road rage turned otherwise mild-mannered and pleasant individuals into murderous drivers. And I’ve experienced it myself too! My only available explanation is that perhaps subconsciously, you realise that the bad driving of those around you endangers your life, so anger is a defensive reaction to this threat on your safety.
Tangentially, I think Singaporean drivers also have the “Give Way and You WILL DIE” complex. Once someone signals and intention to change lanes, invariably the drivers in the next lane will accelerate to prevent this lane change (again often accompanied by high-beam, honking etc.) It’s kinda stupid – but it stems from our kiasu nature I guess. If we allow another driver to cut in front of us, this means that we have LOST, and then we DIE. In Taiwan and Hong Kong I find the drivers to be totally cool about lane changing, even during congestions. Different culture la.