Road Rage - What You Need to Know

In this blog we explore Road Rage - what exactly it is, what causes it and what you as a driver can do about it.

What is Road Rage?

Road Rage can mean different things to different people and if we're honest, it's probably something we've all been guilty of at one point or another. By definition, "Road Rage is aggressive behaviour exhibited by a motorist which encompasses a range of different ways people express their anger from driving."

This 'anger' can present itself in various ways; from tooting a horn, through to verbal forms such as yelling or swearing and throwing hands up in the air, to more practical characteristics such as speeding, swerving, tailgating, dangerous overtaking and to the more extreme like physical confrontation of a driver. The most common forms of road rage tend to be the less extreme behaviours. According to survey results from IAG inNovember 2021, 50% of New Zealanders experienced some form of road rage in the past 12 months, with 41% saying the incident involved swearing, yelling and/or rude gestures form another driver, whereas 6% said they had threats of violence directed at them.

Causes of Road Rage

We all know, dealing with current traffic conditions of clogged and congested roads and the many instances of traffic hold ups can be stressful, and even for the calmest of us, can cause drivers to become impatient. Throw into this mix a driver of another vehicle doing something unexpected, selfish or which endangers your safety, naturally you might feel angry.

The most common behaviours of drivers that lead people to get road rage include:
·  Not indicating
·  Driving too slowly
·  Using mobile phone - calling or texting
·  Tailgating
·  Indecision
·  Inability to merge and
·  Risky or aggressive driving.

Research has shown that drivers with road rage are seldom right, but never in doubt.

How to Reduce the Impact from Road Rage

The harsh reality is trivial mistakes can go bad and lead to serious and even fatal consequences.

We recommend, you follow these tips to ensure a more pleasant experience on the road:

·  Be alert when driving, adhere to safe following distances and make allowances for errors made by others.

·  Follow the road signs as these are there for everyone's safety, and we know things like speed and merging are two causes of road rage.

·  Remain calm and relaxed - and if road rage presents itself, don't worry about who was in the right or the wrong (as focusing on this won't diffuse the situation). Be the bigger person and keep your cool and show restraint.

·  Be polite - it's amazing the positive impacts using good manners and friendly hand gestures and words like 'Thanks' and 'Sorry' can have.

·  Focus on your own driver behaviours - use the horn sparingly and only use as a warning action, don’t try and critique other drivers’ behaviours, and if you're inclined to raise your voice at others on the road, it might be best if you leave your windows up.

·  Be prepared - feeling stressed or rushed can lead to mistakes on the road, so always plan your journey and allow yourself more time to get to your destination.

It's worth noting here too, that if you're driving a company branded vehicle you're easily identifiable. Your behaviour, positive or negative, will reflect back on you as a driver and your company's brand and reputation.  And if you embrace the negative behaviour and end up with road rage, you'll most likely arrive at your destination stressed and not in a good frame of mind to carry out your job.

While we're all human, and moments of inattention, or mistakes can occur, we encourage you to actively focus on these tips to reduce the impacts of road rage or it occurring in the first place.

At the end of the day, it's never worth risking your safety and those of your passengers. Road Rage is important to understand which is why we have a single topic, online training module on the subject.  

Find out more and learn how our courses can help your company drivers be safer and smarter.