Road rage: How to avoid it

2015-09-24 06:00

THE term “road rage” is now the vernacular for any display of anger while driving - so there’s a shocking amount of angry drivers in South Africa.

Five top tips to avoid road rage

• Keep calm and show restraint. Every journey brings the risk of frustration and conflict. Make a pledge to be patient. Avoid using your hooter or making gestures in anger.

• Avoid competition and resist the desire to “get even”. If the standard of somebody else’s driving disappoints you, don’t attempt to educate or rebuke them.

• Don’t push into a traffic queue. If you wait, and signal clearly, you won’t wait long before another driver lets you in, but they don’t like being forced into giving way.

• Say “thank you, say sorry”. Courtesy encourages co-operation on the road. If you make a mistake or perhaps cut things a bit fine, a gesture of apology avoids confrontation and helps defuse anger.

• Move away from trouble. If you feel seriously threatened by another driver make sure your car’s doors are locked and drive (at legal speed) to the nearest police station or busy area (petrol stations are ideal). Use your cellphone to alert the police. Pressing the hooter repeatedly or continuously is likely to deter a potential attacker.

Drivers are encouraged to protect themselves by being alert to early signs of road rage.

Most drivers will have some experience of being on the receiving end of someone else’s aggression. Violent and unprovoked attacks are rare but it pays to be observant and learn to recognise signs of trouble at the early stage.

Drivers are urged to leave plenty of time for a journey, which means they can feel calm and in control at the wheel. Stress can lead to risk-taking which in turn increases the likelihood of an aggressive incident.

Drivers are also urged to avoid becoming involved in situations they recognise as dangerous. If you’re worried about another driver who may be a danger, pull over and call the police.”

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