Keep the heat out of your car journeys this summer
ROAD SAFETY and breakdown cover specialist GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers to protect themselves by being alert to early signs of road rage on journeys this summer.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth commented: “Most of us will have some experience of being on the receiving end of someone else’s aggression, with long traffic queues on hot summer days tending to bring out the worst in many drivers.
“Although violent and unprovoked attacks are rare, it pays to be observant and if possible to recognise signs of trouble at their earliest stages.
GEM has identified a few steps (taken from its ‘Courtesy on the Road’ leaflet) that will hopefully reduce the risk for a driver of being the target of someone else’s aggression this summer:
1) Keep calm and show restraint. Every journey brings the risk of frustration and conflict. Make a pledge to be patient. Avoid using your horn or making gestures in anger.
2) Avoid competition and resist the desire to ‘get even’. If the standard of someone else’s driving disappoints you, don’t attempt to educate or rebuke them.
3) Don’t push into traffic queues. If you wait and clearly signal, you won’t sit long before another drive lets you in. But they don’t like being forced into giving way.
4) Say thank you, say sorry. Courtesy encourages co-operation on the road. If you make a mistake (and we all do!) or perhaps cut things a bit fine, then a gesture of apology avoids confrontation and helps defuse anger.
5) Move away from trouble. If you feel seriously threatened by another driver, then ensure your car doors are locked and drive (at legal speed) to the nearest police station or busy area (petrol station forecourts are ideal). Use your mobile phone to alert the police. Mobile phone law permits you to make a 999 call on a hand-held device while driving, but only if it’s not otherwise safe to stop. Pressing the horn repeatedly or continuously is likely to deter a potential attacker.
Neil Worth concludes: “We encourage drivers to leave plenty of time for their journeys, which means they should feel calm and in control at the wheel. Stress can lead to risk taking, and this in turn increases the likelihood of aggressive incidents.
“We would also recommend sensible journey planning which will help you avoid being on the road at the busiest – or the hottest – times. This is particularly important if you are heading to the seaside, a port or airport, or to a large summer event along with thousands of others.
“Finally, avoid becoming involved in situations you can recognise as dangerous or risky. If you’re worried about another driver who may be in danger, then the best strategy is to stop somewhere safe and call the police.”
Free copies of GEM’s Courtesy on the Road leaflet are available for download from http://www.motoringassist.com/the-gem-story/leaflets/
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