Frightening Road Rage Statistics Serve As A Warning To Drivers

Wednesday, 30. July 2014

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

Road rage is on the increase and is having more of an effect than simply a momentary explosion of anger. A road rage incident can affect both parties to the point of casting a black cloud over their day and negatively affect their mood. It can also, in more extreme cases, lead to more serious verbal or physical violence resulting in injury or worse.

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On TV we tend to only see the results of severe road rage when someone is killed but every day road rage occurs on our roads leaving both parties seriously stressed. Black Box Insurer, Ingenie, carried out a survey in which 70% of respondents said they had been involved in road rage over the last 12 months.

65% said that they were not the ones that instigated the road rage although 85% admitted to showing the signs of road rage on occasions. Dr Lisa Dorn of Cranford University is a Driver Behaviour Expert and believes that more should be done in this area. When psychologist, Dr Dorn, started studying this area there were 6,000 – 7,000 deaths each year but whilst this has now dropped to 1,700 this is still too high.

Road safety has greatly improved with the development of technology, both inside and outside cars, road signage has improved and roads are better engineered, all of which has improved the accident and death rate. According to Dr Dorn ‘The way in which you need to continue to improve road safety is by educating drivers.’ According to the good doctor drivers take risks that have nothing to do with their skills or knowledge, they take them because of their emotional condition, the situation they are in.

There are the sensation seekers who are looking for a ‘buzz’. They can often find it through driving. For this character an open country road with lots of bends and hills on a sunny day would be a great temptation which would lead to some very erratic and dangerous driving. These conditions would act as a trigger for those seeking an exciting experience that could often lead to road rage in them if they are stopped during this experience by a tractor or slow driver in their way.

The other type of person most likely to become embroiled in road rage is the angry person. Being angry, for non driving reasons, can result in aggressive behaviour behind the wheel. Dr Dorn says, ‘Put that into a traffic situation and you have a driver who frequently experiences frustration and may intimidate other road users. The focus is not on the road but tunnelled towards letting off steam.’

If accidents are to be avoided and bad feelings resulting from road rage to be eliminated drivers’ attitudes must be changed but there is no ‘silver bullet’ that will resolve this psychological problem. Having said that Dr Dorn points out that, ‘There is a psychology tradition to behavioural change and dealing with different personalities and a methodology that is fairly well researched.’

She points out that there is a need for drivers to develop the ability to self reflect on their personal driving style. Pass your test and you never have to do anything ever again, you are a safe and competent driver. But there are many times during your lifetime of driving when something happens to heighten the risk to your driving performance. For example, being pregnant, being sleep deprived, stress at work, divorce, loss of a loved one, financial worries, all could have a major effect on your alertness and driving.

There are laws and regulations that govern the roadworthy condition of the car but what about the condition of the driver? It might seem crazy (and it does to me) but she is suggesting that just as you unlock the car, put your seatbelt on and start the engine without thinking you should also ask yourself, ‘How is my driving going to be affected today?’

A moment of focus on your driving rather than your need for a buzz or the problem that is pre-occupying your mind may help with your attitude towards your driving. Other suggestions are, be aware of anyone trying to pass by tailgating you, keep an eye in the rear view mirror and find a safe place to move over and let them pass. Focus on the present moment and your driving, not your destination. Hold your hand up by way of an apology to a fellow motorist if you make an error whilst driving, it’s surprising how that small gesture can take the immediate heat out of a potential road rage situation.

Avoid making eye contact with an aggressive driver in a confrontational situation. Dr Dorn also suggests that everyone should take responsibility for their driving and consider their mental condition to be as important to their safety as putting on a seatbelt. My opinion is make sure you buy a car with air conditioning and make sure that it is working, staying physically cool whilst driving is as important as staying mentally cool. By Graham Hill

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