Steer clear of road rage, GEM urges
ROAD SAFETY AND breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers to avoid getting involved in conflicts on journeys. The advice follows news that the daughter of former Conservative MP Edwina Currie received a fine of more than £300 and seven penalty points following a four-letter road rage altercation.
GEM chief executive David Williams MBE said: “Some drivers believe it’s acceptable to behave on the road in a way they would never dream of behaving in other areas of their lives. This is most likely because being in the car has the effect of dehumanising a situation of conflict.
“We tend to ignore the risk of possible consequences, either to ourselves or to other road users, so we allow our frustration and anger to be directed at those who get in our way or whose driving actions displease us.”
Last week High Peak Magistrates’ Court fined 41-year-old Deborah Currie a total of £324, with seven penalty points, after failing to stop at the scene of an accident.
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:
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 wait 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 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 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. Pressing the horn repeatedly or continuously is likely to deter a potential attacker.
David Williams concludes: “It’s all about being willing to show consideration, patience and tolerance. By behaving this way you may feel in the minority, but by not allowing yourself to get into situations of conflict, you’ll be doing your bit for road safety.”
Free copies of GEM’s Courtesy on the Road leaflet are available for download from //www.motoringassist.com/the-gem-story/leaflets/
Follow GEM on Twitter @MotoringAssist for the latest industry news.