It’s dangerous out there
Road rage is making Australian drivers fearful, writes Mark Hinchliffe
ALMOST every Australian driver has been the victim of unsafe driving and nearly half feel stressed on the road.
Tailgating, slow drivers, changing lanes without indicating, talking on mobiles and cutting in are the biggest causes of stress, a Newspoll for Buzz car insurance says.
‘‘Road rage, offensive gestures and general impatience are making motorists’ lives miserable,’’ Buzz boss Jacki Johnson says. ‘‘The study shows there’s a lot of bad behaviour on our roads. Whether it’s dangerous or impatient behaviour, it’s putting the safety of Australians in jeopardy.’’
Impatience is rife, with 88 per cent of those surveyed reporting they have seen drivers queuejumping.
Red-light running has been observed by 87 per cent and the vast majority (91 per cent) have seen pedestrians crossing the road in a dangerous manner.
‘‘There are a lot of inexperienced drivers, families and elderly people on our roads and we need to modify our behaviour to ensure we are not placing any undue stress on drivers,’’ Johnson says.
The study shows younger drivers suffer stress more often that older drivers. Sixty per cent of respon- dents aged 18-34 feel tense compared with 38 per cent aged 50-64.
Capital-city drivers are more likely to be nervous on the roads compared with regional drivers (58 and 41 per cent respectively).
Road manners have gone out the window with 78 per cent of drivers. Other drivers are swearing at or making rude gestures at mainly women and older drivers.
Nine out of 10 say they’re some- times not acknowledged when they do something nice, such as letting others into their lane, or have not received an apology for driving errors.
Johnson says to combat stress drivers should calm down before getting behind the wheel, leave five minutes early to avoid feeling rushed, check directions before leaving and turn the mobile phone to silent to avoid distractions.
Anger at the wheel: women drivers and older drivers are especially wary of other road users, fearing they will be abused.