They say life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it. By now you may have seen the images and video clip posted by a young man named Egan Vorster on the 4th of September. In it, Vorster describes being on the receiving end of another, older man’s road rage.
The man – referred to as ‘Mr Padvark’ in the post – cut Vorster off by swerving in front of him and hurling obscenities at him. After all, you never really learn how to swear until you learn how to drive. Vorster followed the man down the road in Southern Paarl, where both vehicles came to a halt.
Vorster remained in his car, quite calm, while the other (now identified as Mr. Marius Geldenhuys) jumped out and brandished a pickaxe handle from his boot – which he then used to assault our protagonist with. The two have since reconciled through a ritualistic washing of one another's feet.
Now, we’ve all been prone to a little bit of road rage. As the saying goes – anybody driving slower than you is a moron and anybody driving faster than you is a maniac.
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A few years ago, a study was undertaken in collaboration with the University of Natal Interdisciplinary Accident Research Centre, which categorized driver aggression into 4 sub-scales.[/caption]
But, there comes a day when you wake up and realise that you’ve been driving around with a pickaxe handle in your boot. For the sole purpose of assaulting people in traffic.
And then it’s time to change.
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Firstly, What Is Road Rage?
Road rage is that uncontrollable feeling of wanting to plough your car into another driver’s car. Anybody who has ever lived in a city has experienced this feeling, and most of us have given in to it. Because it’s not you – it’s them.
These people don’t pay attention to construction signs and always fail to get into the correct lane on time. Then they try to worm their way into traffic in front of you. These people sitting there tweeting while the light has turned green. These people staring at Table Mountain instead of looking at what they’re doing on the road. As you pass them – you glare at them – to check if they look as stupid as they drive.
There’s a good chance that you’ve called some of the nicest people in the world some of the most horrific things. This is what traffic does to you. Hell, some of us might even get road rage just pushing a trolley around Pick n Pay. It only takes one slow-walking person to destroy the illusion that you’re a nice person. You run on caffeine and fury.
These people don’t know what to do at a 4-way stop. Why don’t they just stay at home? When you slow down to let somebody merge into traffic and they don’t do the thank you wave. When the car in front of you keeps hitting the brakes for no good reason… They weave in and out of traffic at high speeds and still end up as the car right in front of you at the red light.
These people speed up, cut you off and then suddenly slow down. Pedestrians take their sweet time crossing the road, staring at you.
You can feel it, can’t you? The burn.
Are men or women more to blame for road rage? We found out!
How To Deal With Other People’s Terrible Driving
We spoke to Karen van Zyl from the Anger & Stress Management Centre. According to van Zyl, an adrenaline release triggers the fight or flight instinct within when we feel that somebody has done something unacceptable on the road. It often happens quickly and unexpectedly.
“The reaction may be irrational and instinctual,” says van Zyl. “Elevated stress levels can also play a part, as well as things like low blood sugar and lack of sleep.”
We, as human beings, default into ‘tit-for-tat’ behaviour. For instance; if you change lanes in the middle of a turn, I might feel obligated to run you off the road and into a ditch.
“We need to be constantly aware of our tolerance level,” says van Zyl. If you’re going to snap at every single person for every little thing, sooner or later you may get hurt or end up in trouble with the law.
Here are some things to remember when you feel the rage building up:
- You cannot change another person’s behaviour, only your own;
- Mentally prepare yourself for your journey. Realise, that at some point some driver out there may do something which angers you;
- Put on some calm music or an audio book or learn a language;
- Try to make peace with the status quo;
- People may flout rules of the road, but it is not in your control;
- We are all human beings trying to get through life as best we can, and often we take silly risks and make stupid decisions;
- Inhale, exhale, repeat;
- Don’t take everything so personally.
Take a breath, keep calm and compare car insurance quotes to start saving today!
How To Deal With People Who Think You’re A Terrible Driver
Road rage is the expression of the amateur sociopath in all of us, cured by running into a professional.
Somebody said that once. So, you’re halfway home when you realize that you’ve legit zoned out and haven’t been paying attention at all. How are you alive? How do you have a licence? There’s a Toyota Hilux with a Free State licence plate behind you, lying on the horn. And then, the driver gets out of the car.
People can be very unpredictable. “Rule of thumb is safety first,” says van Zyl.
Best tip of all? Be a courteous driver. Do not tailgate, do not block the passing lane and do not allow your own anger to get the better of you.
Out there, good manners can save your life.
- Do not engage and try not to make eye contact. Basically, treat them as if they were a silverback gorilla;
- If the person attempts to follow you, drive to the nearest police station or public space;
- If there’s nobody else around, never pull over;
- Irate people cannot be rationalized or reasoned with, wait for them to calm down;
- Remember, they are engaging you solely on an irrationally emotional level.