The things I undergo while driving, especially being a woman driver. It is indeed a tough job and an interesting one too. Let me start with what happened today.
I was on my way to the office and I “wasn’t” rash or fast or even ruthless (which I sometimes am. I will come to that in a bit) because there wasn’t enough space to do all those things ( 😉 ). And then suddenly the uncle before me stops all of a sudden and well there is that ripple effect you read about when something like that happens (like the falling of dominoes). So I was left with no option to press my brake (very hard actually) to avoid hitting the uncle before me. And then I hear it. Bham!!! For a second I thought that my pressure on my brake wasn’t enough and I really did hit the front car. But then I see a small gap and then I realized that the sound came from somewhere behind. I turned around and there he was, a guy in a bike, waving his sorry through my window. Now what do I do? I calmly say OK and went ahead. Why? Because even though he did hit me, it was just an accident where none were harmed. He sure was a little close (there was another bike fellow who did turn at the last minute from hitting me I think) but all he did was react to my braking and being in a two wheeler you cannot always escape that small gap and you indeed brush against the car’s mudguard. He looked at me with so much thanks and went ahead.
Now rewinding to a month before, the same thing happened with me, infact that time, I did hit the mudguard of an autorickshaw. It was a very huge traffic jam and there wasn’t an inch of space and this auto had come in between from another side before my vehicle. Now what do you think was the reaction of the auto fellow? Well, he saw that I am a woman and so he got down and started shouting that I was driving rashly (even if I wanted to do that I couldn’t because I couldn’t even go in my 2nd gear) and all that. All I did was put on a face as if he was shouting at someone else other than me and looked at him without any reaction to his words. And everyone else asked him to go ahead because he was blocking the traffic (and there wasn’t a single scratch in his auto) and there he went cursing me all the way. The auto fellow’s I have seen would go quietly if the driver had been a man because they would give as good as they get at times and since I, a woman, am not that aggressive with face to face confrontation unless if there is a real hurt, they tend to try to prove their ‘power’. But then, don’t start feeling sorry for me yet, I am about to tell you how things turn out if I really feel very aggressive.
I have had incidents where people look closely and see that a woman is driving and tend to either take advantage of it thinking that ‘oh yeah!! she wouldn’t know how to handle if I take a turn suddenly or if I cross the road before her…’ Trust me, I have almost hit people who tried to do that and without any regrets 🙂 One day while coming back from a brunch with friends, there was this traffic signal that turned green so I had just picked up speed and on the opposite lane there was this auto fellow who was planning to take a U turn and was waiting for the cars before mine to pass and once he saw I was a woman he was all roaring his vehicle to pass it before me. I signaled him and without reducing my speed I kept driving on. We locked eyes and he almost went ahead with his turn ignoring me, but then something devilish must have sparkled in my eyes because he stopped a mere inch and I passed without even a small decrease in my speed. I was all ready to hit him that day, even a visit to the local police station was looking all good for me. Because a) he was doing a U turn out of his turn b) I had signaled him and he had ample time to wait and in spite of all these if he was ready to take the risk, I was game. On the same day, after some time, there were these two young guys who were waiting to cross the road. Till my car on their vicinity, they stood quietly for vehicles to pass (that is the norm here and they were not standing on the crossing line too). But one among the two saw that I was driving (a woman), gave me a smile and started crossing (ignoring his friend’s calls) almost before my car. Well, I was the she-devil that day, so I gave a smile back and a shake of my head indicating that I am not sparing him and luckily (for him) he stopped and let my car pass. My friends were appalled and were wondering why people behaved like that to me. And that wasn’t the only time I have had this experience. It happens every other day and every other day, I am resolved to not let these people scare me and I react as cool as a cucumber 😉 which unnerves them. And thankfully and touch wood, I haven’t had a single incident except for the ones that involves auto’s , where I even brushed anyone else.
I have had enough arguments with people who say women drivers are worse or they are funny or anything like that. I have seen enough stupid male drivers too in my life so I will never say that only women drive badly. Some people are just bad drivers, irrespective of being men or women. And if people want to take me for granted because I am a woman, I won’t think twice to pull the ‘i-am-a-woman-so-i-am-a-bad-driver’ card and hit you and not regret it for a second and may be add a flutter of eye lids for more effect (I hate and despise that action actually). I may not be a great driver, but I am a very considerate and safe driver unless you provoke me otherwise.
So next time if you are trying to break the law and play a game with me in driving just because I am a woman, think twice and unless you value your life, I would advice to refrain from proceeding ahead. I will only be your mirror.