Ramadan road rage in Saudi Arabia rising around sundown
The number of accidents involving injuries or fatalities occur mostly a few hours before iftar
Although believers who keep obligatory fast in Ramadan are expected to control their emotions and behave respectfully to all, it is not rare to see people fighting and blasting off with anger in public places, especially around sundown.
Reckless driving and road rage are common and as a result there is a steep rise in the number of accidents recorded during the holy month.
“It is a wild world and people are really getting crazy,” said Naif Al-Ahmadi, a 32-year-old employee.
Ahmadi, after watching pictures of terrible accidents posted on social media websites, was discussing with friends people’s rude behavior and their raging anger during the fasting hours.
He said the excuse these people normally came up with was they were fasting. “This makes no sense because fasting is supposed to make them self-disciplined and not act rudely.”
His friend Muneer Turkistani agreed and said, “It’s unbelievable how people really lose control of their temper.”
Turkistani added, “I have seen fights on the road and among people waiting in lines in supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants and foul shops. It is wild out there in the afternoon and I really try to avoid going out immediately before iftar.”
He suggested that security patrols should intensify their presence in an effort to prevent any violence in congested streets.
Commenting on clips of road accidents which have been distributed on social media channels, Majed Al-Adwani said people tend to drive aggressively between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. during Ramadan.
“It is better to avoid driving before iftar (fast breaking). It is dangerous; smokers especially get angry easily due to the depletion of nicotine in blood,” he said.
He noted that the number of accidents involving injuries or fatalities occur mostly a few hours before iftar.
Expressing his opinion, Rayan Ba Qais, a 24-year-old college student, described roads before iftar as a F1 arena. “People are turning their cars into speeding rockets on the street. These angry motorists create traffic jams and they fight with each other because of the congestion they themselves create,” he said.
Due to a lack of sleep, hunger, traffic jams, low nicotine and above all the heat, people develop serious temper issues and everyone suddenly turns crazy, according to a medical specialist.
Dr. Fahmy Abdulaziz, a clinical psychologist, said: “During the fasting hours, controlling temper becomes a problem. People are hungry, tired, sleepy, dehydrated and on-the-run. The combined effects of all these are anger bouts and fights.”
He said, “It’s unbelievable how people really lose control of their temper just a few hours before iftar time.”
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.