Let’s play a game of jeopardy.
They honk their horns or flash their high beams when sitting in traffic. They will speed past, changing lanes with no signal, weaving dangerously across multiple lanes. Some will speed up and block you from merging lanes while others may roar up behind you as if trying to intimidate you. Some might even give you the finger, scream out the window or pull over to fight with you!
Answer – How do discourteous drivers behave on the road?
A recent study conducted by Australian car insurance provider GIO, found that eight out of 10 motorists from the State of New South Wales have been on the receiving end of driver discourtesy or, in some case, ‘road rage’ over the past 12 months. Experiences included drivers not acknowledging others for letting you merge, playing loud music with the windows down and driving slowly in the right-hand lane
, and accidents that can result in damage to vehicles and injuries, with subsequent filing of insurance claims. What is amazing is that some people who are ordinarily even-tempered have admitted that when they put the key in the ignition they have a tendency to lose control of their emotions behind the wheel.
According to Dr Helen Cameron from the School of Psychology at Australia’s University of South Australia, “tension and driving are a dangerous combination”. Road rage triggers include preexisting stresses, such as being in a rush, traffic congestion and facing frequent road works, and even the feeling of your personal space being invaded by others. Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure; there are solutions to curb road rage and here are some suggestions:
Focus on your own driving and stay safe: Concentrate on your own driving. Others might suffer from road rad and it’s safer to not get involved.
Practice stress breathing: This is a great stress relief exercise that everyone can perform very easily. Take a deep breath, hold for three seconds and then deeply exhale. Repeat the cycle as many times as necessary to normalise your blood pressure and pulse rates.
Leave 15 minutes earlier than usual: Avoid the anxiety and impatience that comes with rushing and the thought of possibly being late. Leave earlier to give yourself plenty of time to drive to your destination, safely and more relaxed.
Enjoy your music: Listening to music that makes you happy or has a calming effect can have a major influence on the way that you behave on the road. According to researchers from the Ben-Gurian University of the Negev in Israel, the number of driver mistakes dropped by a fifth when the drivers listened to the specifically composed soothing music mix.
Avoid confrontation with other angry drivers If you become a victim of another driver’s road rage, don’t be tempted to reciprocate. According to GIO spokesman Stephen Bell, one in four NSW drivers admit to swearing or gesturing rudely at another driver, but what starts out as a seemingly harmless action can escalate and lead to something far more dangerous such as a physical confrontation. Focus on your own driving to avoid helping the situation to escalate.
Next time you’re on the road, just remember that you can’t control other drivers, only your reactions to them.
This article is presented by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. The information is intended to be of a general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.