While being on the road this festive season, something I tried to avoid, I observed that aggressive drivers drive more aggressive than during normal season. This came as a shock to me because I always thought that during working season people are stressed out and therefore they are driving in such a rude manner.
Everyday more people come face to face against aggressive and hostile drivers. This sometimes led to road rage. Remember Graham Eadie? This story shocked South Africa. Eadie killed a fellow motorist by hitting him with a hockey stick after he apparently used tailgating, flashing lights and then overtook Eadie just to slow down again. This story illustrates that road rage can happen to anyone.
However there are some signs that will betray an aggressive driver.
“Verbal or gestural expressions of anger, directed at the perceived offending motorist - includes the use of insensitive or obscene gestures and inappropriate and excessive use of the horn and lights” - http://www.mrc.ac.za/policybriefs/roadrage.pdf
How many of us have experienced the above mentioned behaviours or even used them? Our human tendency is to right the wrong or to strive for justice. Sometimes that kind of justice is not worth losing your life over.
So what can you do to protect yourself from being a victim or instigator of road rage?
One thing that works for me is to be aware of the consequences of my actions. If I stop at this robot and get out of my car I might get shot or worse kill another human. Are you willing to live with those consequences? Me neither. So why put yourself in that situation? When observing aggressive behaviours from motorist try and stay as far as possible away from them. Sometimes it is difficult to do, but do it we must. Doing this does not mean you are weak or afraid. It actually means that you are taking a less emotional road that can safeguard you and your family.
Contact the authorities if someone is really threatening and you. In this instance you can give them the description of the car, number plate and route you are traveling. Never ever ever respond with the same type or emotional intensity than the other motorist.
Being outraged is an emotional response that we usually find difficult to control. However it is within all of us to control our emotional responses.
Do not; actually promise not to become outraged on our roads again. Become not only a calm non-threatening driver but also a responsible one.
Remember, we can only control ourselves no one else.