Today, our guide looks at road rage – and how to avoid conflicts on car journeys. The advice comes after the recent two-year suspended prison sentence handed to Harvey Spencer Stephens following a road rage incident in August last year. Former actor, Stephens, rose to fame as devil child Damien in the film ‘The Omen’.
Perrys’ Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, said: “Some motorists believe it’s okay to behave on the road in a way they would never think of behaving in other parts of their lives. This is most likely because being in a vehicle has the effect of de-humanising a situation of discord. We tend to disregard the risk of possible penalties, either to ourselves or to others, so we aim our frustration and annoyance at those who get in our way, or whose driving actions irk us.”
We’ve pinpointed a few steps that will help lower the risk for a driver being the target of someone else’s hostility:
Keep calm and demonstrate self-control. Every car trip brings the risk of weariness and conflict. Make a promise to be patient. Try and avoid using your horn and don’t make gestures in fury.
Shun competition and refuse to accept the longing to ‘get even’. If the standard of someone else’s driving upsets you, don’t try to educate or reprimand them.
Don’t force your way into traffic queues. If you wait and signal, you won’t wait long before another motorist lets you in. But other drivers don’t like being made to give way.
Say sorry and say thank you. Good manners help to boost co-operation on the road. If you make a gaffe or maybe cut things a little fine, then a signal of apology avoids conflict and helps neutralise anger.
Drive away from trouble. If you feel genuinely threatened by another motorist, then make sure your car doors are locked and drive calmly to a busy area or the nearest police station.
Tim Barnes-Clay concludes: “It’s all about being thoughtful, patient and tolerant. We all make blunders from time to time. Remember also that some motorists will be out there looking for an argument. They may take pleasure as a situation intensifies – but no one has control over how it will end, and that’s what makes any participation potentially so risky.”