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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

NRMA concerned about road rage spike

Have you ever experienced road rage while driving around Newcastle or the Hunter?

If the answer is “yes”, it’s unlikely you’re on your own.

According to new research conducted by the NRMA, seven out of 10 members felt the wrath of another “angry” driver on the state’s thoroughfares and, alarmingly, one in four of those admitted children were present at the time.

The Road Rage and Courtesy Driving Survey found 71% of people have faced someone’s fury behind the wheel.

Of those, 70% suffered the dangerous behaviour – which includes physically assaulting another driver (85%), getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver (85%), tailgating in anger (81%) and yelling or shouting abuse (78%) – at least once or twice in the past year.

The study also discovered 79% had witnessed road rage among other drivers.

NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury said a minor incident could easily deteriorate into a violent confrontation with terrible consequences.

However, there was a somewhat silver lining.

“While it is difficult to track whether or not road rage is becoming more prevalent, what is without doubt is the stark reality that getting caught is now easier than ever, which is all the more reason for drivers to not over-react behind the wheel,” he explained.

“Every bystander with a smartphone is now a recording witness – every dashcam an extension of the law.

“You are now more chance of getting caught and charged and your embarrassing behaviour featuring extensively on the news and across social media.

“The NRMA has outlined simple courteous steps drivers can take behind the wheel to quickly defuse a situation.

“Keeping your cool and being polite towards other drivers is the most effective way to prevent road rage.”

The most important displays of courtesy drivers want to see on the road, according to the NRMA, are:

  • Using indicator when merging or changing lanes (97%)
  • Not using your phone illegally (95%)
  • Keeping a three second gap from the car in front (91%)
  • Using your indicator when parking (86%)
  • Keeping intersections clear to allow vehicles to cross or turn (83%)

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