Sunday 9 May 2021

Pandemic exacerbated aggressiveness in Costa Rica’s roads

Authorities say the problem worsened in the last year. Mismanagement of emotions and 'toxic masculinities' drive violent episodes.

QCOSTARICA – Aggression among drivers on the roads in Costa Rica has been on the rise for a decade, however, the stress caused by the pandemic exacerbated this problem in the past year.

Violent driver attacks another on General Cañas highway on March 2

Authorities admit they have no statistics to support the claim, but based on their fieldwork, they have perceived a greater number of violent confrontations in the last year.

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Experts point out that these situations, carried out mainly by men, occur due to poor management of emotions and a “toxic masculinity” that validates hostility and anger.

For example, a truck driver who severely beat another driver on March 1, said that he did it because the victim “asked for it”.

Read more: Driver who severely beat another driver on the Autopista fired and being sued

This, according to specialists, is only one of the cases in which this culture of aggressiveness was first expressed through insults and then materialized in physical attacks.

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The director of the Policia de Transito (Traffic Police), Germán Marín, the first point to take into account is that no driver has the power to tell other drivers on the road what to do or not do.

The police chief commented that some citizens have the need to demonstrate that they are right by force (even if they are not) and cause ‘unnecessary events’ on the roads.

In addition, he explained, that violence is not only injuring someone but also verbal attacks, making threats or manifesting it in their way of driving, such as drivers who get too close to vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists, to cause fear.

Marín also stressed that these violent episodes on the road are now more evident because there is more access to technology, people using their phones to record and upload or stream to social networks.

He stressed that the leisure activities before the pandemic helped to release stress and find peace and tranquility, allowed people to be serene behind the wheel.

“It seems to me that it has been a cultural effect, a behavior that, either we did not learn well or we should reinforce it, because it seems that in these aggressive acts, the person may have some predisposition that is enhanced when in the vehicle, having less tolerance. Those already driving tense now are perhaps more so,” said Marin.

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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