It’s dan­ger­ous out there

Road rage is mak­ing Aus­tralian driv­ers fear­ful, writes Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

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.

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