September 16, 2019

The Editor speaks: Road rage

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Colin Wilson

We all must have heard the term “road rage”. Perhaps most of us have experienced it with some of us not realizing what we are feeling is road rage.

I will give you an example of road rage. One that I felt just a few days ago and prompted me to write this.

I was on my way to Foster’s Supermarket near the Airport and stopped at the small roundabout that is difficult with all the road works going on there. The golden rule at roundabouts is to “Give Way”, although the sign doesn’t say “give way” to whom. You are supposed to give way to traffic coming from the right but some road users don’t know this and treat it as a 4-way stop sign without the need in most cases to stop.

At the incident I telling you about I stopped and allowed the cars, there were three of them, on my right to come onto the roundabout ahead of me. There was a white car behind me and it looked reasonably new, despite the gloom as it was approaching dusk around 5pm. There already was a lot of traffic. After the second car had gone through the driver of the white car started tooting me as I waited for the third car. He repeated this and immediately I felt very angry. I even turned my head and gave him one of my cold stares but he probably couldn’t see that.

To relieve my anger I decided to really annoy him and after the third car had passed by I went onto the roundabout and through it and eventually to Fosters at snail pace. Very, very naughty of me but it instantly relieved my anger.

Unfortunately, not the driver behind me. He kept on blasting me with his hooter continually. The more he did it the more I smiled.

When I got to the turnoff to Fosters I pulled in and stopped and he shook his fist at me as he went past. At the same time I smiled and blew him a big kiss.

Now that was wrong of me. I should have ignored him but…..

If the incident had happened in the USA I could have been shot.

Why do we get road rage?

The main reason is because driving a car is stressful. It’s a dangerous time because even if you’re the safest driver in the world it’s all the other variables that go with driving a car. The weather. The visibility. The traffic. And, of course, the other drivers. A good percentage of them engaging in very risky behavior. It’s that behavior, I fear, that will start the road rage. You get the urge to punish the driver for his stupidity, just like I did causing him to do the same.

It’s strange, but true. The normal rules of behavior don’t apply when driving a car. It annoys me when so many movies, and even car ads, portray aggressive driving as an exciting activity. Even to help vent your anger that will most definitely, but for the grace of God, lead to an accident.

I have to ask this question. When we get into a car and start to dive, do we immediately become emotionally impaired?

If I am right, then we must all be aware of this emotional state and try not to engage any more in ‘road rage’. A very hard thing to do.

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