Alarmingly Violent Road-Rage Incidents Are Rising In Durban With Many Claiming Lives. How Do We Keep Ourselves Safe On The Roads!
Over the last few weeks, media headlines have been dominated by stories of violent road-rage incidents that have claimed lives or left victims in a critical condition. The festive period is just around the corner and Kwa-Zulu Natal is known for a high number of road accidents. The increased amount of traffic on our roads, coupled with the increased aggression leaves many at risk to road-rage incidents.
What Is Road Rage?
Road-rage is aggressive or angry behavior by a drivers of any vehicle. Such behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately driving in an unsafe or threatening manner, or making threats. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions that result in injuries and even deaths.
In Durban, research done a few years ago with 1006 participants by the Medical Research Council showed the following results. Road rage ranged from mild, verbal but non-threatening expression of annoyance, to verbal or other expression of anger directed at the offending motorist. It also indicated that some drivers could show threatening or intimidating behaviour, and some experienced rage and ‘loss of control’ seeking direct confrontation and pre-meditated behaviour.
‘Other hazardous driving behaviours’ were also recorded in the tests. More than half the motorists reported driving above the posted speed limits should the opportunity arise and about one-tenth acknowledged driving under the influence of alcohol.
Motorists rated the behaviours relating to minibus taxi drivers to agitate them most often. Also, common perception was that driver aggression was more prominent during peak hours and during festive periods.
How To Avoid Road Rage
Be a polite driver. Allow other drivers to pass you or get over into your lane if needed. Helping other drivers will put you and them in a more peaceful state of mind and following the rules of the road will keep you safe.
Avoid confrontation. If an angry driver yells at you or shares a rude gesture out his or her window, don’t make eye contact or yell back. Keep your eyes on the road and ignore the angry driver. Fighting and driving angry is dangerous to both of you as well as the other drivers and will only cause the situation to escalate.
Stay safe. If you do become a victim of another driver’s road rage and you feel threatened, take steps to keep yourself safe.Note the license plate in case the situation escalates and there is vehicle damage. If you’re being followed, drive to the nearest police station and request assistance.
If you find yourself often getting frustrated behind the wheel, remember these tips. Keep your driving environment calm. Making your car a happy, peaceful place will help keep your road anger at bay. Listen to music that makes you happy or that calms you down.
Allow yourself plenty of time. Being late will make you anxious and impatient, so you’ll be more likely to get angry at other drivers or make irresponsible driving decisions that will make them angry at you.
Find alternative routes if you are aware of traffic jams and road closures. Try to avoid peak periods where you can. Avoid distractions such as cell phones when driving as your lack of attention may cause a road rage incident.
You can report bad driving or road rage incidents to 0861 400 800. Should you in any way be physically attacked in a road rage incident, note down the license plate and as much details of the car and driver and go to your local police station.
Have you experienced any road rage incidents? Let us know in the comments below.