Road Rage: 14 Ways you could be part of the problem
The 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study
We've all been there. You are driving, staying in your lane when a "Pad Vark" suddenly cuts you off.
Road Rage ensues.
But did you not see that for the last three minutes the "Pad Vark" had their indicator on wanting to change lanes?
You can help manage or prevent road rage by recognising the aggravating driving behaviours that can escalate driving incidents to life threatening levels.
1. Distraction, rubbernecking and multitasking
On the road there are so many drivers with their own places to go that you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Considering that you can’t predict someone else’s behavior it is best to always be aware of what the vehicles around you are doing. If you are distracted you will not react fast enough which could cause an accident or frustrate a driver.
AVOIDING DISTRACTIONS WHILE DRIVING >
It’s a Sunday afternoon and suddenly there is traffic. When you get to the other side and the traffic starts to clear up you realize that the only reason for this delay was a car parked on the side of the road.
This nuisance is called Rubbernecking. The art of slowing down to stare and cause traffic.
Remember that if you are craning your neck to look at that parked car, you could collide with the vehicle in front of you and cause an accident. Therefore, unless it directly affects you, keep your eyes on the road.
PEDESTIRAN DISTRACTIONS WHILE WALKING IN TRAFFIC >
We all know that as a results of the ever evolving world of technology, multitasking has become a survival skill of the utmost importance. With regards to driving, the only multitasking that should be taking place are those to stay alive and managing your vehicle. Sure, sing along to your favorite song on the radio. But this is not the time to be playing your air guitar. Leave those activities for your home life.
2. Premature Rage
It’s all about perspective. In the grand scheme of things the fact that someone cut you off on the road will not be remembered. But if you fly into a rage with every small thing that happens on the road, your emotions could compromise driving.
Remember there are millions of people around you making decisions on the road everyday. Humans make mistakes and sometimes the person messing up will be you. So cut your fellow man some slack and remember that the road doesn’t define your whole existence.
3. Premature hooting
Image this: the light has just turned green and before you can even take a breath someone has hooted their horn aggressively.
And so the internal monologue starts, “The light just turned green! You can see that I was about to put my car into gear! What is your problem?”
The injustice of the situation results in the person losing focus to anger and not pulling away fast enough or stalling their vehicle. This wastes time. Therefore, please be advised to take a deep breath and count to ten first. If they have taken more than ten seconds to realise you can lightly hoot to bring the light change to their attention. I assure you they will probably be embarrassed and apologetic.
4. Phone use
Driving a vehicle is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Since using your phone will mean that one hand is occupied and you are distracted, you will not be able to react as quickly if something were to happen. As discussed previously any form of distraction is a danger to you and to those around you on the road.
Some of us forget the reality of the risk we pose on ourselves and others on the road, please have a look at the youtube video seen below:
TEXTING AND DISTRACTED DRIVING >
Cellular Technology and Road Safety
5. Driving slow in the fast lane
Research shows that slow drivers cause about a third of accidents on the road. The fact is that in Europe, according to the Commission of the European Communities Road Safety Action Programme, published in June 2003, excessive and improper speed is the cause of about a third (33%) of fatal and serious accidents and a major factor in determining the severity of injuries.
The speed limit is there to protect us so please follow the rules of the road and let drivers pass you if need be.
Why You Shouldn’t Drive Slowly On The Right Lane In South Africa >
6. Driving the same speed as the adjacent car
Its common knowledge that the rule is keep left and pass right. But what if there is a car in both lanes driving the same speed, how do you pass? That is why if there is a car that is visibly in a hurry and you happen to be in the fast lane, do not keep pace with the adjacent car. Either speed up or turn into the left lane and allow the car to pass. Drivers getting impatient will take chances and could risk your life or their own.
7. Speeding up during merging
During the merging of lanes the general consensus is that there is one merging car between every two cars. If you do not allow a car to merge and they are forced to be aggressive in order not to end up off the road, they could try to push you off the road or create an accident. This will result in you having to brake quickly and could slow everything down. So if you want to get to your destination without delay, be polite and let cars merge with no fuss.
8. Braking for no reason
Depending on the vehicle, braking could require a larger distance. Although the simple rule is that one should always keep a distance of at least one car length, when there is traffic and cars are compact, those rules no longer apply. Therefore when braking one should do so gradually and not pump the breaks. If you are braking for no reason, the person behind you will not trust your driving capabilities and create a larger distance than necessary from you. This will delay all cars and result in road rage.
9. Not using the turn signal
Unless you stick your arm out and indicate, how are people to know what you plan to do with your vehicle? That is why vehicles come with turning indicators! Use them so that the vehicle behind you knows what you are about to do and there won’t be a collision of sorts from “lack of communication”.
10. Cutting in line
Whether it’s a line waiting to turn off or an off ramp, cutting in line at the last second is rude and can result in an accident or delays. Plan your trip ahead of time and if you happen to miss your turn off, turn around when you are able (No illegal U-turns!) and safely arrive at your destination.
11. Ending up in the wrong lane
As previously mentioned sometimes we miss the turn off or the route we should be taking. Don’t panic. Take a deep breath. If you end up in the wrong lane just indicate to the vehicles around you that you would like to change lanes. If you try to cut in line or try to drive other vehicles off the road in a panic, that will just place everyone’s lives in danger. #arrivealive.
12. Inconsiderate cyclists
Bicyclists who don’t follow the road rules are the cause of a lot of anger. Not stopping at robots or stop streets or driving pedestrians off the sidewalk. This unlawful behavior requires its own article, but to summarize, if you are cycling it is your responsibility to look out for pedestrians and drivers alike. If you are going to be on the road, you need to follow the road rules. If you are going to be on the sidewalk, you need to follow the pedestrian rules.
13. Saving or taking someone’s parking spot
First come, first serve. There are certain social rules in life that alleviate rage and frustration. Do not save a parking space for someone if they are not around. If there is a long line of cars already waiting, it will take the vehicle time and maneuvering to get to the spot in the first place. Be kind and let those waiting have the spot.
If there is an open spot and someone has been waiting in line to park. If they are about to turn in you DO NOT swerve and take their spot. This could cause an accident. And social rules dictate that if the vehicle has their indicator on and they are waiting, that is their spot.
14. Finally, when you encounter road rage
Keeps your car doors locked. Do not take part or antagonize and drive as quickly as you can to a police station if you are being followed.
We all want to get home safely. Therefore if we can all be aware of our surroundings and issues that might be causing road rage we can improve our driving behavior and arrive home safe and at a reasonable time.