We have all been in a situation where we or another driver have shown signs of aggression while driving. With South African roads becoming more and more stressful, it becomes quite difficult not to lose our cool or become frustrated when someone does us wrong while driving. Road rage all stems from aggressive driving, that gets worse and worse over time.
SIGNS OF ROAD RAGE1
- Dangerous and reckless driving.
- Intimidating other road users.
- Using obscene hand gestures.
- Using very bad language.
- Becoming violent by either using a weapon or their vehicle.
Let’s look at ways we can remain calm in a stressful road rage incident and how to prevent it from happening.
WHEN DOES ROAD RAGE OCCUR?
Road rage usually occurs when one or more drivers act out in aggression when one or the other has made a mistake while driving.
Usually one of the drivers showing signs of aggression are already under a bit of stress and it triggers them to react in an aggressive manner.
WHAT MAKES US FEEL STRESSED WHILE DRIVING?
- Being stuck in traffic and not being able to move.
- Not having control of certain aspects e.g. traffic, lane closure and behaviour of other drivers.
- Feeling boxed in when we don’t have many options on which roads to use.
- Feeling territorial when our space has been invaded by other drivers.
- When unexpected things happen while driving e.g. accidents or a driver cuts in front of you without warning.
- Sometimes another driver’s apology can be interpreted as an insult or them being aggressive.
WHERE DOES OUR BEHAVIOUR BECOME AGGRESSIVE WHILE DRIVING?
How we act on the roads gives a clear indication of how we show aggression while driving.
- Driving over red robots.
- Changing lanes suddenly without putting your flicker light on.
- Blocking intersections, not being courteous.
- Driving recklessly and fast.
Self – Importance
- You prevent someone from moving into your lane.
- You use obscene hand gestures and language.
- You tailgate or cut off another driver as payback for doing you wrong.
- You always feel like you’re a target and other drivers act maliciously towards you.
- You feel very self–entitled while driving and feel that anyone who does you wrong must be punished.
- Taking on drivers who have crossed you or done you wrong.
- Driving aggressively and speeding.
- Showing acts of violence by intimidating other drivers either with a weapon or vehicle.
Why is road rage increasing in South Africa?
Road rage is increasing internationally, because of bad traffic jams, not enough infrastructure, drinking and driving and not enough law enforcement.
What sets South Africa apart from the rest is the increase of stress in our everyday lives. Some road rage incidents in South Africa have even turned deadly, where one driver has used a weapon on another driver.
A Bloomberg study shows that South Africa is placed second as one of the world’s most stressed-out nation. Nigeria comes in first and El Salvador third for gang-related wars. 3
How to prevent road rage? 2
- Make sure you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep increases irritability.
- Make sure you leave earlier to reach your destination. Getting stuck in traffic or getting lost can cause a lot of frustration and anger.
- Try to stay calm by concentrating on your breathing. It distracts you from aggressive thoughts.
- Don’t show your aggression or frustration towards other drivers. You might trigger the same reaction in them.
- Avoid eye contact with an aggressive driver, rather ignore them. This should avoid an unnecessary altercation with them.
So next time you get behind the wheel, rather think twice about getting frustrated and angry with a fellow driver. Rather be courteous and keep your cool. You don’t want to end up in a situation that may even cost you your life.
The roads are unpredictable. Affordable car insurance can help you recover should you have a car accident.
— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) May 16, 2019
This article was prepared by Eric Sandmann in his personal capacity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views and opinions of Prime Meridian Direct (Pty) Ltd, FSP41040.The views and opinions in the article should not be attributed to anyone but the author unless expressly stated. Nothing in this article should be relied upon as advice, this publication is presented for informational purposes only. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found in this article, without first obtaining proper financial advice from the appropriate professional. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, or completeness, of any information linked from, referred to, or contained in this article. The author reserves the right, to edit and change the content of this article.
- 3 https://businesstech.co.za/news/business/213719/south-africas-high-stress-levels-mean-employees-are-already-in-holiday-mode/