With the current state of South African roads and the inherent aggression that South African drivers are famous for, there is no escaping the fact that the traffic sucks and that drivers are prone to road rage.
While there are no hard and fast statistics that deal with road rage directly, as it is yet to be classified as a crime, anecdotal evidence suggests that the incidence of road rage is on the increase in South Africa. What’s more is that crimes committed as a result of road rage are becoming increasingly violent.
“Road rage is defined as an incident in which an angry or impatient motorist or passenger intentionally injures or kills another motorist passenger or pedestrian, or attempts or threatens to injure another motorist passenger or pedestrian,” explains the AASA. The problem here is that road rage is more often than not a result of external factors and situations rather than those arising on the road; these include stress, depression and pent up aggression. As a result, minor incidents such as being cut off or throwing a zap sign, have the potential to escalate rapidly into a situation that lacks all sense of proportion and can end in violence.
At MegaBus we suggest getting out from the driver seat (where road rage occurs), and taking the bus to work, school or your educational institution. It is just better for your physical and mental wellbeing.
British researchers reported that car commuters were 13 per cent more likely to feel they were under constant strain or unable to concentrate.
It is thought that the exercise taken to walk to the bus stop and then the relaxation while travelling helps to make people feel better. Another study found switching from a car to public transport helped people lose weight and become healthier physically.
Taking the bus whenever you can, is one of the best ways to avoid road rage. An additional advantage is that you will arrive at work or for your appointment feeling more relaxed and public transport probably works out cheaper too.
Eating well and getting eight hours of sleep will also make you less stressed and less likely to want to be involved in road rage. Most importantly, be responsible for your actions, whether you are provoked or not.
A survey conducted by the AA amongst drivers in the Johannesburg area found the following results:
- That most respondents rated themselves as good drivers and had been driving for at least 16 years
- 63.3% of respondents reported experiencing aggression directed at them on a daily basis
- 47.7% of respondents reported having children in the car during a road rage incident
- 47% of all road rage is generated by young drivers between the ages of 18 and 25
- 1.1% of respondents admitted to assaulting someone during a road rage incident
- 3.4% of respondents claimed to have been assaulted during a road rage incident
While these statistics are worrying, there is very little the individual driver can do to curtail bad driving practices on South African roads. If your circumstances allow, the simplest solution, however, is to make use of alternatives like carpooling, cycling and off course public transport systems.