By Janet Adetu
If you were to complain about three main things in your environment today, I’m very that one of those things top on your list would have something to do with our roads. Traffic is a major deterrent to the proper functioning of our daily activities. In the past the roads used to be predictable, but today we experience all sorts. One moment the road is unusually free and we cruise the streets in minutes, only to find that the next day there is absolute gridlock. Unfortunately, many times we never get to know the real reason behind some of these gridlocks. Spending two to three hours on the roads sets off a negative tone for the day.
You become exhausted, frustrated, drained and upset before your day has even started. To crown it all you are still expected to function normally. It is not surprising that when you step into your office, your shop or your business, one little thing can tick you off. As a result, you become aggressive, snappy, unwelcoming and just so rude. Sadly, this is the common trend we see all around us where incivility on our roads is on the up rise.
Why are people so rude on our roads?
Have you noticed that even when you are in a traffic jam wanting to change lanes nobody wants to give you that one second break and allow you to come in front of them? It is like everyone is the owner landlord of the road and is in more of a hurry than you are. Why is everyone always in a hurry?
Interestingly, road rage is not just limited to private and public vehicles only, now the tricycles, motorcycles and pedestrians have joined the band wagon. There is no courtesy on our roads, so evident when you look around and see up to 70% of the vehicles all have one scratch, dent, bump or disfiguration. I often wonder why it is peculiar to certain environments. I have often had cause to compare with other nations. When you look at the activities on the roads, people give way to other road users, they drive with caution and everyone is to a large extent very civil on the road. The result being well kept vehicles driving around. Of cause many international countries do have their own bouts of road rage, most times the incidents are recorded and addressed. Why are we so different?
I often say that when you are driving you have to drive your personal vehicle physically, and others mentally. You have to be extra alert by predicting what the other driver is going to do. As much as you cannot control the behaviour of other drivers, the onus is on you to be a normal as possible, even in the midst of rude gestures, vulgar verbal insults and absolutely bad driving.
How does road rage impact you?
Many things have been identified as acts of road rage, it happens so often that it has almost become a norm and therefore nobody really is concerned. Just imagine how your productivity drops just because someone upset you on the road that morning, you then decide to retaliate. Your entire mood is displaced, your thought process is scattered and your ability to concentrate marred.
What does road rage look like? Are you a victim?
- Using your horn excessively to talk aggressively to other drivers
- Driving at 50km per hour on a 20km residential road
iii. Deliberately causing lane obstruction by cutting others off a lane
- Flashing headlights in the daytime and full lights at night
- Aggressive fast speed driving and sudden braking
- Driving bum per to bumper – very close tailgating
vii. Shouting and yelling verbal abuses and insults
viii. Rendering threats by open confrontation
- Deliberately hitting other cars and causing collision
- Bad mannerisms including spitting at others from the vehicle, talking on the phone while driving
- Rude gestures with the hand
Dealing with discourtesy (road rage) on our roads
Road rage is everywhere, it will take a lot to eradicate it completely. Being a driver on the roads is not just possessing a driving license to avoid discourtesy and road rage these are a few tips you can ponder on:
- Learn how to drive the vehicle in front of you, behind you and master your own.
- Keep your sanity while driving on the roads stay cool, keep calm
- If in the unfortunate circumstance someone hits you accidently naturally you will be angry, you are allowed to vent your frustration but only for a moment. Do the extraordinary keep your composure, take a breather, then say it is OK
- Control your emotions, relieve your stress and resolve the matter
- Resolve that it could have been worse therefore it is not that bad Put life first before money if you can
- Be courteous, civil, safe and healthy
We all want a better place to live in, there are more pressing issues that people have to face in life without having to add the anger of others on the road. Courtesy on our roads as well as the reduction of road rage is indeed the right step towards being a better nation.
Wishing you Safe Driving on the roads!