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Automobile Association advises motorists to be patient and tolerant

Association says drivers need to consider consequences of their actions

Many motorists will be thinking ahead to their annual vacations as 2015 begins winding down. But this is also a time when, after a long work year, tempers become frayed and the smallest incidents on the road can quickly escalate.

Minor traffic infringements can sometimes lead to more serious incidents if drivers aren’t patient on the road. All too often a small violation becomes the catalyst for an incidence of road rage.

An increase in the number of vehicles on South African roads, and the driving culture of motorists, is also seen as a big contributor to road rage with some road users feeling they are being “provoked” by other drivers.

Triggers of road rage include pressuring the driver ahead to make way or increase their speed (sometimes by flashing lights to signal them), weaving in and out of lanes, obscene hand gestures, hooting, not using indicators, driving at low speed in the fast lane, driving on the shoulder to pass other traffic, and not stopping correctly at a roundabout or four-way stop.

“There are many reasons some people become aggressive while driving, many of them trivial. Unfortunately research has shown that people often have other stresses in their lives that build up and are released while they are behind the wheel,” the AA notes.

For this reason, the AA urges drivers to be calm and to follow the rules of the road while driving. It is also important not to take any actions by others personally and to not intentionally frustrate or antagonise other drivers.

The Association said drivers needed to ask themselves what the maximum time lost by not going first in a roundabout or at a four-way stop was and whether the five or ten second delay was really worth the potentially catastrophic outcomes we have seen in the past as a result of a pointless altercation.

“Everyone wants to get to their destination safely and in the right frame of mind. We need to take control of our actions and behaviour and sometimes that means accepting the mistakes of others or even ourselves. An important aspect, which many people forget in a heated situation, is to think of the consequences of our actions,” said the AA.

Apart from following the rules of the road, the AA recommends that drivers remain calm at all times and make smart decisions.  

“Being distracted while driving, by electronic devices or other passengers for instance, is also likely to make drivers less aware of their surroundings and can lead drivers to make mistakes that others may consider hostile. Messages can wait until you are safely at your destination, focus on the road,” the AA concluded.

Contact AASA Public Affairs
Telephone 011 799 1126
E-mail press@aasa.co.za

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