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What to do in a road rage incident

As roads get busier, our anger on the road can sometimes increase. A recent GIO survey found that 88% of respondents claimed to have been a victim of road rage.

Certain capital cities are worse than others. In Brisbane, 95% of motorists have been a road rage victim. Adelaide and Perth followed closely at 90%, Melbourne at 87% and Sydney at 84%.

Road rage can appear in several different forms. The following is a list of the types of road rage you may experience in order of frequency.

  • Rude gestures
  • Tailgating
  • Verbal abuse
  • Being followed
  • Being forced off the road
  • Car damage
  • Physical assault

Surveys have even found that the colour of your car or the type of car you drive can make you more likely to be a road rage offender. Blue cars, followed by black, silver and green were more likely to start road rage. While, the top 5 car brands include:

  • BMW
  • Land Rover
  • Audi
  • Subaru
  • Vauxhall / Holden / Opel

Quick stats:

  • Australia is ranked 9th in the world for road rage
  • 52% have received aggressive gestures
  • 34% have been verbally abused
  • Men are more often than not the offender

So why do we experience road rage?

It is often the case that those who are easily angered will be more likely to commit road rage. However, those who aren’t usually angry in life can be angry on the road. Some have put this down to people feeling safe and powerful in a car, like holding a weapon.

The NRMA have recently identified the top ten road rage causing drivers:

  1. Drivers who don’t give the ‘thank you’ wave
  2. People who slam the brakes unnecessarily
  3. People who merging without indicating
  4. Drivers who cannot keep a constant speed
  5. People who drive under the speed limit
  6. Those who don’t allow others to merge
  7. Drivers who cut someone off
  8. People who text and drive
  9. Tailgaters
  10. Drivers who use the right hand lane incorrectly

The best way to stay safe from road rage is to stay calm and be polite of the road. Here are our top tips!

  • Avoid driving when tired
  • Stay off your phone
  • Avoid caffeine or substances that make you agitated
  • Play music
  • Plan ahead and leave on time
  • Follow the road rules
  • Always use the ‘Thank you’ wave
  • Don’t tailgate
  • Keep your hands on the wheel

If someone is abusing you, the best response is to distance yourself and avoid eye-contact. If the aggressor follows you, do not drive home. Simply drive to a mall, hospital, police station or any public place.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: April 29, 2020.

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