Road rage: what’s the best way to deal with angry drivers?
People can react aggressively after incidents – big and small – on the road
While road rage incidents on New Zealand’s roads are not uncommon, it can be difficult to know what to do in a confrontational situation.
Recently, Matthew Morgan, 27, was sentenced to eight months in prison after crashing into another vehicle twice in a violent and sustained road rage attack as a result of this driver accidentally cutting him off going out in front of him.
While such an aggressive road rage incident was rare, the problem was interesting, said AA automotive affairs general manager Mike Moon.
There weren’t any hard and fast rules for how to handle this, but Moon said the first step was to make sure people drove with courtesy.
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He said people should make sure not to follow or follow too closely, cut people off, or drive too slowly.
âThink about your own driving first. “
He said if a road rage incident started to happen, people should back up and not engage.
“You are not going to do better.”
If strong intimidation was used, Moon said people could go directly to the police station or to a public place.
A survey of AA members found that 17 percent said they or a family member had witnessed a road rage incident in the past six months.
âIt’s not that rare.
There was an incredibly diverse range of possible “inducements” for rabies, said Mike Lloyd, senior lecturer in sociology at the Victoria University School of Social and Cultural Studies.
“Typically, [it] involves an embodied feeling that one’s safe path has been cut off / endangered by another.
âBut other times, offensive gestures may be enough.
âOften a dynamic that we see is the difficulty of communicating, especially with motorists.
“The car’s cocoon limits better communication, so hand gestures can be used, or honk, but these can easily be misunderstood.”
Breathing was the best thing people could do if they found themselves suffering from road rage, but Lloyd said it was easier said than done.
âAlso pay close attention to the gestures used – a middle finger gesture is very busy and only invites escalation.
âEven if you firmly believe that you are the one who is right, wondering if you should make it clear – accept it and move on.
“If you’re wrong, think about how you might recognize it – a wave of excuses – and only stop and engage in the interaction if you can’t avoid it.”
Lloyd said abusive language didn’t solve anything but was used very quickly.
The ability to apologize was a tool that could also be used to defuse the situation.
âOpen your hands in front of you and just say ‘I’m sorry’, over and over if need be. “