Road rage incidents are likely to increase during the festive season

2014-12-19 00:00

AGGRESSION on the roads remains a concern across the country and a string of road rage incidents have shocked everyone in South Africa.

Recently, a man was left traumatised after a motorist attacked him with an axe during an alleged road rage in Gauteng.

Closer to home, Kavlin Naidoo was shot in the stomach, allegedly by a policeman, in central Pietermaritzburg two months ago. He spent over 20 days in hospital and later died.

Another incident happened in Pietermaritzburg last week when a motorist allegedly opened a bottle of brake fluid and poured it over another motorist’s car and windscreen after he was overtaken dangerously.

These incidents are expected to increase in the festive season as motorists seem not to tolerate one another.

Local psychologist Margot Sennett-Freedman said severe anxiety and depression and substance abuse may contribute to road rage. She said these may become exacerbated over the festive season with more intoxicated drivers on the roads.

“If you can get out of the situation and avoid it, do it. If you find yourself in a tangle with another driver, back away and give them some space. This is hard to do, but letting them ‘win’ could short circuit any further problems,” Sennett-Freedman advised.

“If the other driver begins to drive recklessly, slow down and change your route. The last thing you want is to be in a traffic accident with this person.”

She said drivers should not get out of their vehicles, and must keep ­windows closed and doors locked at all times.

Former Pietermaritzburg traffic ­police head James Mills said the stresses of life, depression and mental instability can easily trigger rage in people in the traffic environment.

“Sometimes a small act can light the fuse to a full-blown explosion,” he said.

“People who are frustrated by traffic congestion or are delayed in journeys when they have appointments to meet or planes to catch, or are affected by the risks or inconvenience posed to them by other road users [are more likely to exhibit road rage].”

He said that to reduce or eradicate these incidents, drivers must exercise patience and not be tempted to chase after ­offenders to remonstrate with or confront them.

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