Road rage is a silent killer on South African roads, and motorists, we’ve either been a victim or perpetrators of road rage at some point in our lives. Someone cuts you off and you send a few angry words in their direction, or someone flicks their lights at you from the rear and you raise a finger in response. These are the more overt forms of road rage, but it can also be displayed in more subtle ways like brake checking someone or driving slower than necessary to annoy the driver behind you. Road rage is defined as motorists displaying aggressive behaviour towards other motorists or even pedestrians.

This aggressive behaviour may be caused by a variety of things from fatigue to traffic, let’s have a look at some of the main causes.

Fatigue

A long day at work or the lack of sleep can often be the cause of aggressive driver behaviour. We’re all tired at the end of a workday and at times this results in us having a short fuse and very little tolerance for other motorists. A lack of sleep can also reduce our ability to control our emotions.

Running late

When you’re in a race against time to get to your destination, you often find yourself being impatient, even at a red traffic light. It becomes a problem when one becomes impatient with other road users, who often have no idea that you’re late and need to be somewhere in a hurry. 

Traffic

As mundane as it may seem, sitting in traffic can result in impatience and frustration for motorists. As a result, it can lead one to lose their cool from even the smallest of inconveniences.

What are the dangers of road rage?

Nothing in life is without consequence, and this applies to road rage incidents alike. Having a moment of unchecked emotions on the road will not only steal your peace but can also ruin the rest of your journey and day. In extreme cases, road rage can have more serious implications such as being involved in an accident, intentionally or unintentionally or getting into a physical altercation with another motorist or pedestrian. Many people have paid the ultimate price for their participation in road rage incidences and lost their lives. It’s not worth it. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to get to our destinations and return home to our families.

How you avoid road rage

Get enough rest

Having enough rest will ensure that you’re not cranky and short-fused when behind the wheel. Fatigue can either result in you not being able to regulate your emotions, or the next driver having a bad reaction to a mistake that you’ve made on the road.

Time management

Plan your journey efficiently. This can easily be done by checking your navigation app to see how long it will take to travel to your destination. You’ll be able to leave on time to ensure that you aren’t running late and attempting to fly over other vehicles to make time. It’s also a good idea to make allowances in your travel time for any delays and unforeseen events. 

Keep your calm

It’s easier said than done but it could save you a ton of frustration as well as your life. Choosing to remain calm in response to a transgression or offence on the road is not only a sign of maturity but of self-control. It simply isn’t worth your life or peace to engage in a fleeting moment of rage – rather breathe and keep it moving. You never know, the next person could be on the edge and waiting for the slightest trigger to explode. Stay calm and stay alive.