Headlines

Drivers point to supernatural
on notorious toll road

Repeated road accidents between KM-91 and KM-100 on Cipularang turnpike between Jakarta and Bandung have left motorists recollecting stretches of notoriety, not only because of suspected construction, but, for some, because of supernatural activity.

The toll road, built in 2005, has shortened the trip from four hours to two hours. While critics and road management are engrossed in arguments over the land worthiness of the road construction, which some believe is responsible for the accidents.

Jani Runjani, 42, a driver with Baraya Travel passing the Cipularang turnpike between KM-91 and KM-100, said he had to employ extreme caution and concentration with the road section marked by the descends and turns.

“It is prone to slides, one involving my brother, who’s car skidded off on KM-96 in 2006. Fortunately, he survived,” Jani said on Friday.

While blaming the road characteristics, Jani said drivers should not rule out mystic intervention.

Recollecting his own experience eight months ago, he said when he drove past the section one night with passengers aboard from Bandung to Jakarta, he found a white cloth suddenly covering his front windshield, obstructing his vision. He said the passengers screamed in shock, but he remained calm in prayer.

“We must keep calm because the cloth will disappear on its own. If we panic, we may lose control of the wheel,” he said.

He also said he has come across tigers and a silhouette of a black shadow or a blitz of light suddenly flashing over the street that startled him so suddenly he abruptly slammed on his brakes.

He said twice passengers had asked him to move them from their seats because they were suddenly frightened by mysterious uninvited passenger aboard.

“Once a passenger suddenly jumped into the front seat after claiming to see a creature inside the vehicle,” Jani said.

He once consulted the spiritual guardian of Mount Hejo, near the road section. The guardian suggested the drivers flash a dim light or press the horn when passing the road.

Dimming the lights and honking the horn seem to have become code of conduct for drivers on the road, according to fellow drivers.

“People might think it is myth, but I did experience it myself. So it is confusing if people say that ‘they’ do not exist,” Asep Oki said.

Cipularang has drawn public attention following a car accident that killed the wife of celebrity Saiful Jamil on Sept. 2 in the wake of the Idul Fitri holiday. Four days later, six travelers, who had been celebrating Idul Fitri at home, were killed when their travel van clipped a truck.

Apart from the supernatural, drivers are advised to focus on the road and the wheel. They are also warned against drowsiness and using the rushed turnpike completed before in 2005 to facilitate the golden jubilee of Asia Africa Conference in Bandung.

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