KEEP YOUR COOL: Controlling your breathing and not engaging with an aggressive driver could be the difference between life and death in a road-rage incident. Image: TIGER WHEEL & TYRE
CAPE TOWN - On Tuesday (July 14 2015), Wheels24 reported that psychologist Dr Jacques Van Zyl, who focuses on road behaviour and road-rage propensity, said the term road rage has become the vernacular to describe any display of anger while driving.
Angry or aggressive driving can range from mild displays of anger, such as not maintaining a safe following distance to the vehicle ahead, to more serious forms of violence, such as physical assault and vehicular homicide.
INTERMITTENT EXPLOSIVE DISORDER
Van Zyl said: "In fact most psychiatrists call it Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), which is characterised by extreme expressions of anger up to the point of uncontrollable rage disproportionate to the situation.
"Five to 7% of the South African population suffers from this disorder and because it is associated with lower serotonin turnover rates in the brain, a combination of psychotherapy and medication is indicated for treatment.
WATCH: How Canadians deal with road rage
READERS SUFFER FROM ROAD RAGE
We asked readers whether they suffered from road rage and a News24 poll garnered more than 10 000 votes.
Poll results: 10 979
Yes, I have a problem - 1391 votes
No, I exercise self-control - 3103 votes
Sometimes it gets the better of me - 6485 votes
Of the more than 10 000 respondents, 13% (1391) admitted to having a problem dealing with their rage on the road. The majority (59% or 6485) said that sometimes they lose control while only 28% (3103) said they exercise self-control behind the wheel.
Wheels24 has received dozens of emails and comments regarding road rage. Our readers' responses ranged from calls for better enforcement of current laws to sharing horror stories on the road. Here are some of them:
Richardson Mzaidume: "If there are people who've been declared unfit to carry firearms, I believe there are many people who are unfit to drive. Not because of physical disabilities but because their mental state is very bad. If we were to have that kind of evaluation, most taxi drivers would be history on our roads.
"Then you have recently upwardly mobile people whom according to themselves, everybody is jealous of their success. Even people who hardly know them. The 'do you know who I am?' brigade also fall in this category. Most road rage incidents are triggered by ego. Right now, there's too much ego on our roads."
Watch: Crazy road-rage driver ramps on to Audi
AgentSmith said: "South Africans do NOT understand how a traffic circle works, especially double-lane ones. I have had a few near-misses thanks to morons who think they can go straight when they are supposed to turn. We are not much better with four-way stops.
"I have often been in a good mood when getting into my car, just to have some moron make me mad. Just seeing a taxi gives me primal urges to kill, but what I do now is just ignore them as much as I can while avoiding an accident with one, which helps keep me calm. It is always amusing to see how mad the taxi drivers often get as a result, way worth the effort "
'PEOPLE ARE FED UP'
Blackhole Sun: "People are just fed up and frustrated as hell with the lack of law enforcement on the roads and individuals doing what they want with no regard for anyone else."
Barry Christell Dunn: "Look when you drive like you own the road, then you put others life in danger and its a reaction to that."
Ani MalFarm: "Right-lane hogging has caused many accidents indeed, often serving only to satisfy someone's righteousness or (lacking) ego."
Us3rname: "So good to know there are others who come to the same sane conclusions. Proves that not everyone has lost it yet!
"I once crossed a solid lane off the N1 because I saw it was completely gridlocked and did not feel like sitting for hours. It was instinctive but I saw the gap and took it, granted there was just enough space in front of the bakkie in that lane. The dude approached me at the robot and gave me a 'PK'. I knew I was in the wrong so I just left it. I also knew if I took it further I could have been cited for the illegal move.
"When the person in the wrong is dumb enough to still make personal advances on the 'enraged', that is when you need the dash cam."
Lucille Moukarzel Burger: "I just have to say that sometimes driving in the right-hand lane cannot be avoided like on the M5 in CT when you need to take the Milnerton turn off to the Koeberg interchange and it does nobody any good when you have to be in that lane and are driving the speed limit for the person behind you to rush up behind you and get all pissed off because you won't move over.
"I can't move over because then I will miss my turn off so what the hell do these people want from you."
'NOBODY IS PERFECT'
BK Banzuke: "Many of the comments posted here indicate that many individuals are OK with road rage (RR). Many of you clearly show that you are typical of the type of individual who would be guilty of RR. Just accept that there will always be people who either make mistakes on the road or just drive badly!
"I've been driving for over 25 years and have experienced my fair share of bad drivers but not once was it necessary to react badly/negatively because I acknowledge that I am human and have also made the odd mistake/error in judgement. Get over yourselves - Nobody is perfect."
ADVICE FOR READERS?
Arrive Alive said: "Road rage is defined as an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger/s of one motor vehicle on the operator or passenger/s of another vehicle, or is caused by an incident that occurred on a roadway and considered a criminal offence.
"We advise road users to maintain self-discipline, take deep breaths and don't get involved especially if a fellow road user is aggressive. Not everyone has the same levels of self-restraint and mental stability.
"Remember that conflict can only continue to exist with participation."
READ: 11 tips to help you survive road rage
Have you experienced road rage in SA? How do you exercise self-control in the heat of the moment? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts on Wheels24.