IT SEEMS a majority of people have experienced road rage in some form during their driving life.
These incidents can range from horn blowing and fist waving, all the way through to deliberately crashing into another vehicle. Innocent people have even been killed as a result of this kind of behaviour - and usually it all started because of someone's impatience or a simple mistake.
"Road Rage" isn't a new phenomenon - in fact it probably started the same day they equipped cars with horns - but it's now recognised as a major road safety issue.
However the full scale of the issue is hard to identify because these incidents occur in varying degrees and often go unreported to police. But what is clear is the fact that road rage appears to be increasing.
The reasons behind the growth in this kind of behaviour are complex but it all comes back to the driver's attitude.
Having the right attitude towards driving is arguably the most important facet to safer driving yet, it is the least tangible.
We can instruct people on the physical techniques but the mental aspects are a little more difficult to communicate. The way a person responds to different issues such as the road rules, police and other road users depends on their own personality and beliefs.
It's important to remember a few key things:
- We all share the road
- We are all human and we do make mistakes
- How you deal with a situation is your choice
So even if someone does do something silly, try to look at it from their side. Getting upset will not change what happened and could even lead to a more nasty situation occurring.
You can also help "defuse" the situation by affording others a few simple courtesies while you're on the road.
For example, it could simply mean giving another driver the opportunity to merge and giving them some space to fit in. Equally, if someone gives you some room, a friendly wave to say thanks is a good idea. It is also wise to signal your intensions well before you turn or change lanes. This gives other drivers plenty of time to move across and lets them know what your intentions are.
These small changes are likely to make a big difference.
When you co-operate with other road users it can make your life easier - and their's too.
Russell White's experience in the driver training industry spans more than 24 years. He is widely regarded as one of Australia's leading road safety advocates. His business offers the complete range of driver training and fleet management services, visit driversafety.com.au