If you bumped into someone in the street while looking the other way or sending a text, would you a) apologise and carry on with your day, not giving it a second thought or b) swear and shout at them in a flurry of offensive hand gestures?
We’re guessing, providing you’re not borderline psychotic, that the answer is probably A.
So why do we act so differently behind the wheel? What is it about being in a car, snug in our own little world, that changes the rules? People on the street are just other people. People in cars, however, are somehow The Enemy.
And things can escalate. Aside from the obvious risk of having a crash, there have been plenty of cases where minor road rage has led to heated, face-to-face confrontations, to violence, and even – on very rare occasions – to murder. All over some trivial incident on the road.
If you know you’re at fault, mouth sorry at the other motorist. And next time someone pulls out in front of you, just back off and remember you’ve done it yourself a few times. Sure, there are some unbelievably irritating motorists out there, but getting worked up over them is pointless.
As well as defusing road rage, there are other ways to reduce the risk of being a victim of violence:
- Routine car maintenance and regular car safety checks will help prevent you breaking down by the side of the road and having another car pull up next to you.
- Never return alone to a deserted car park at night.
- When you stop behind a car at, say, traffic lights at night, always make sure there’s enough room between you and the car in front to allow you to pull out, if necessary. Also keep your windows up and doors locked.
- Join a self-defence class. Some will even focus on the motorist, and show you how to use everyday items (such as a car de-icer spray) for personal self-protection and to ensure a rapid escape from a would-be attacker.