By Wilma Bedford
Statistics for 2018 reveal that 18 000 people die on South African roads annually, of which numerous are related to road rage. 150 thousand people are seriously injured and 8 500 are paralysed in accidents, and this costs the state R300 million a year, without even taking into account the personal and emotional loss. From these figures it is clear that there are no winners in a road-rage incident, but only consequences and losers.
Road rage is when a vehicle is driven in such a way that other people, vehicles or property are injured or damaged, deliberately bumping against another vehicle, deliberately causing a collision or having a confrontation with another driver, and general lack of consideration.
The following will cause road rage: sudden acceleration to cut off somebody, unexpected unnecessary braking, tailgating the vehicle in front of you, preventing somebody from moving into a lane, driving too slowly, driving too fast and flashing lights to force a driver out of a lane, not using flickers to signal a change of direction or a decision.
Even the most even-tempered driver is confronted by such road behaviour every day and it is only natural to want to react, but acting rationally and considerately will prevent you from becoming part of South African statistics.
But what if the rage monster grabs you?
- Do not act impulsively, think first!
- You feel you are right and the other person should be taught a lesson, your space is being invaded and you react in a way that endangers other road users or passengers or that elicits confrontation. Perhaps you don’t have control over what you feel, but you do have control over your reactions.
- Ask yourself whether you yourself perhaps have unresolved frustrations that you carry along and that have now become your inciter and assistant driver. Identify and defuse the emotional crisis before you drive somewhere. If you have a problem controlling your anger, you perhaps also have a problem curbing your anger in other areas. Determine the underlying cause of your anger and try to find a solution for it.
- Accept that other people do make driving mistakes and be lenient about it. You also make mistakes and will appreciate other drivers’ consideration.
- Drive with consideration and keep to the traffic rules; rather be an example of thoughtfulness. And remember that your young passengers learn their future road habits and attitudes from you.
- Accept that if you land in a traffic jam, everybody is going to be late and that you can do nothing about it. Trying to queue-jump can only aggravate an explosive
- Ignore obscene signs and do not be tricked into making signs yourself or lying on your hooter.
- Perhaps you feel like swearing yourself. Try to think civic-mindedly. When you swear at somebody, you are demolishing him to a level inferior to yours. It would be good to remember that the other person also has loved ones waiting for him to come home who appreciate him.
- Only use the hooter to warn other people of danger and not to scold them, for instance if they don’t notice that you are right next to them.
- Avoid times and roads that will usually elicit a reaction from you. Leave earlier and make provision for delays.
- Try to think ahead and how you are going to handle inciters.
- Listen to audiobooks on your sound system rather than to a radio programme or music that irritates you.
- If you are pursued by an aggressive driver, drive to the nearest police station or the nearest service station with cameras. Avoid eye contact with the driver and do not stop.
South Africa’s Shocking Road rage Stats.
Koopman, Se-Anne 5 July 2018
5 Ways to get your road rage under control.
Volpe, Allie. May 2018, Men’s Health