Last week a road rage incident made the news when a man attacked the car of an older man and had the older man exited his car, he would likely have been attacked as well. The enraged man became infamous as his image circulated around social media and his actions, no doubt, are affecting his life now. He could possibly lose his job.
The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says road rage is a serious concern in South Africa and many drivers have been victim of a driver who has become enraged. “When many people get behind the wheel, their personalities change and the car now becomes a weapon. They also become impervious to the consequences and each time they escape these consequences, they become bolder,” says Herbert.
How many of us can admit to being the one who loses their cool in traffic? MasterDrive has compiled a number of tips to help drivers not land in this position to start with. A few seconds of irritation are not worth the often serious consequences.
- A key component of good driving is defensive driving where you anticipate the actions of others. When you drive defensively, you know someone is going to cut you off long before they actually do. Adjust your driving to allow the other person in and save yourself the anger that comes with taking evasive action last second.
- Do not get in your car when you are angry. Give yourself some time to cool off before driving otherwise even the smallest mistake from another driver will seem much bigger than what it is. While some may use driving as a way to calm down, studies suggest this is not the best idea.
- Give yourself enough time to get to your destination. Running late will raise anxiety and frustration levels making you vulnerable to drastic reactions.
- Do not drive fatigued as it also raises your aggression levels.
- Find something that puts you in a good mood during your drive. This can be listening to a certain genre of music or listening to comedic skits. But remember, organise this before you start driving.
- If you know that you lose your temper easily, find methods of regaining your composure, for example, breathing exercises.
- Do not drive in a manner that will enrage other drivers either, for example tailgating and continually swapping lanes.
- Follow MasterDrive’s slogan: drive nice, it’s contagious. Many South African drivers will do their best to stop another car from joining their lane and get angry if that person does join their lane. Driving like this sets you up for unnecessary anger and forces other drivers to take drastic measures.
- Just let it go.