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Saturday 20 January 2018

Road rage rife as 40pc of motorists admit losing plot

Eddie Cunningham Motoring Editor

ROAD rage is rampant here with 40pc of drivers involved in an angry exchange at least once a week, according to a new report.

The "shocking" findings also show that one in eight (13pc) drivers has been so upset they have gotten out of their car to confront another motorist.

Nearly as many (11.5pc) revealed they have daily bouts of anger while behind the wheel.

The report, by Continental Tyres, also discovered that nearly one in three road users now expects to be confronted by aggressive or intimidating driving.

The findings would appear to indicate there is a serious problem on our roads, largely going unreported.

The most common form of aggression is a heavy, sustained blast of the horn from another driver. The study also found widespread experience of drivers being subjected to offensive hand gestures and being 'tailgated'.

Learners annoy other drivers the most (52.7pc), with older, slower motorists (45.5pc) and boy racers (43.6pc) also high on the rage list.

The effects on those on the receiving end of such road rage can be devastating. According to the survey, they range from anger (40pc) and being badly shaken (21pc) to feeling like retaliating (19pc).

Furthermore, the knock-on effect of loss of concentration can increase the risk of a mistake or accident.

The survey was conducted nationwide and involved details from 300 drivers, making it one of the more comprehensive studies of the phenomenon for some time.

Paddy Murphy, of Continental Tyres, who commissioned the report, described the findings as "shocking".

"Of paramount importance is road safety, but if motorists feel intimidated or angry they will lack concentration, increasing the danger for other road users, never mind not enjoying the driving experience," he said.

Driver behaviour expert Dr Mark Sullman, of Cranfield University in England, explains why we lose our temper behind the wheel.

"When driving, we are prevented from using the normal cues to work out people's intentions, such as facial expression and body language, so we are more likely to misunderstand their behaviour and interpret it in a negative way."

He gave the example of how we can smile apologetically and say sorry if we bump into someone in a shop or in the office.

Remedy

However, we do not have such a quick remedy when in a car. In the absence of up-close cues, people are much more likely to react in an aggressive manner.

Dr Sullman advises: "You can choose not to let it rile you and instead deal with the situation in a positive way, such as concentrating on driving safely yourself or realising that everyone makes mistakes."

Among areas that can reduce the level and likelihood of sparking other drivers' backlash are avoiding harsh braking, tailgating and indicating in plenty of time.

Irish Independent

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