Green Flag, who deal with breakdowns, carried out a survey and discovered that a staggering eight out of ten drivers experience road rage of some kind on a weekly basis.
There are several definitions of ‘road rage’ such as ‘a driver showing aggressive behaviour in traffic often due to stress’.
So, are you one of those who suffer from road rage? Are you an aggressive driver?
Here in the UK, on our busy roads, there is an increasing trend towards this unnecessary behaviour so let’s look at some examples of it, the reasons for it and some thoughts on how to deal with it.
Examples of road rage
- Driving too close behind the car in front.
- Weave in and out of traffic cutting between vehicles to change lanes in the hope that they are going to arrive at their destination a few seconds earlier.
- Going through red traffic or pedestrian lights.
- Pulling up alongside another vehicle at a set of traffic lights and gesturing or shouting at the driver in an aggressive manner.
- Excessive use of their horn.
- Overtaking a driver who is ‘hogging’ the middle lane on a motorway and then slowing down in front of them.
- Flashing your headlights at the driver in front who is ‘hogging’ the middle lane on the motorway even though you could use the outside lane to overtake.
Reasons for road rage
Stress causes many such incidents but of course what is the reason for the driver becoming stressed? It could be they are late for a very important meeting, or late picking up their partner from the station, have had a bad day at the office or have had an argument with their spouse.
By nature, there are people who may just be anti-social and have always driven aggressively without any thought for other drivers. You may always have driven correctly but, having been cut up by another driver, you may then try to give that driver ‘a dose of their own medicine’ making you no better than them.
How would you handle road rage-are you an aggressive driver?
If someone has cut you up it may be because they are normally an aggressive driver but, just think, it could be because they are in a rush to get to the hospital to be present for the birth of their first child.
Try to stay calm and focus on your own driving avoiding eye contact with the driver who has pulled up alongside you at a set of traffic lights and making rude gestures to you.
If you have made a mistake, such as getting into the wrong lane, then hold your hand up as a gesture of apology to the driver who subsequently lets you into the correct lane.
Turn the other cheek-easier said than done but a wise decision. After all, in your attempt to ‘get back at the other driver’ how are you going to feel if you hit and killed a child crossing the road whilst you were trying to catch up with a driver who had upset you in some way.
If you are that upset by a ‘road rage’ drivers actions then pull over when safe and take some time to calm down.
As a last resort, if you felt that you were being followed by another driver who was driving aggressively, then drive to the nearest police station.
Hopefully these thoughts will help you remain or become a ‘road rage free driver’!