Road rage: More drivers losing it

2018-07-09 10:41
Concern over increase in violent road rage incidents.

Concern over increase in violent road rage incidents. (File)

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The number of reported incidents of road rage has increased in the past few years according to Arrive Alive.

Recently, there have been several deadly incidents of road rage.

On Monday The Witness reported that a Pietermaritzburg man, Farhad Manjoo (58), was killed by a single gunshot to the chest in what is alleged may have been a “road rage-type” argument in the city centre.

Bongani Mncwabe (30), who is accused in the matter, has not yet pleaded to the charge. He appeared briefly in court on Monday and was remanded in custody until July 13.

Last month, a man was shot and killed during an apparent road rage incident in Durban. Two vehicles —a minibus and a van — had collided. The owner of the taxi arrived at the scene and an argument ensued, resulting in a firearm being used and a person killed.

In December last year, Thobelani Khuzwayo, a Pietermaritzburg policeman, was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for the murder of local man Kavlin Naidoo. Naidoo was shot at the corner of Jabu Ndlovu and Retief streets in November 2014.

In June 2016, Shakile Saktu was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for deliberately running down Luchelle Joubert in the parking lot at Liberty Midlands Mall in 2012. They had argued over a parking bay.

In March this year, a policeman’s wife used her husband’s state-issued firearm in a road-rage incident in Durban.

The woman was arguing with a truck driver over a parking bay when she reached into her car for the gun that she pointed at the trucker.

The truck driver retaliated by producing a firearm and firing two shots at her, which hit her in the leg.

A local woman, Nombuso Nxele (24), said she used to insult motorists who insulted her or those who drove recklessly, but after seeing several news reports about people being killed in road rage incidents, she has opted to keep her emotions to herself.

“I do get angry but I am now scared to retaliate or shout at people. I don’t know what weapon a person has in their car or in what state of mind they’re in. I also think being young and being a woman makes me more vulnerable so I now choose to rather keep quiet,” she said.

Another Pietermaritzburg resident, Pulane Mabea, said whenever she encounters what might turn out to be an altercation with another motorist on the road, she “pretends to be deaf or blind and presses forward”.

Nondumiso Zakwe said her worst encounter with road rage happened as a learner driver was when she was shown the middle finger by a fellow motorist.

“I was still learning to drive and my car had a huge ‘L’ on the back window. I wanted to turn right at an intersection with a steep road but when I got to the middle of the intersection the car stalled.

“I panicked and failed to get it to start again. This woman started hooting and showed me the middle finger before driving off furiously. I was so traumatised,” she said.

Zakwe said, however, not all motorists were “savages” and a young man had parked his car and came over to help her move her car.

Psychologist Dr Jacques Van Zyl said aggressive driving can range from mild displays of anger, such as not maintaining a safe following distance to the vehicle ahead, to more serious forms of violence, such as physical assault and vehicular homicide. “A closer analysis of the term road rage reveals that rage means to be in an extreme, energised state of anger which has accumulated and has been suppressed for some time, is triggered and now finds expression in rage-like behaviour,” he said.

According to Van Zyl, typical uncontrolled rage behaviour would be excessive screaming and swearing, intense verbal abuse, serious threats and sometimes even physical assault.

He said if this behaviour is exhibited on the road, it can be called road rage.

Van Zyl warned that because one does not know the emotional state of the other person in the other car, all motorists should “exercise self-control and restraint and do not get involved in any angry and aggressive driving incidents”.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  road rage

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