Put etiquette in the road code, AA says
The road code should be updated to include an etiquette section to turn the tide on poor-mannered drivers on our roads, the AA says.
‘‘People should ask themselves, why is their journey more important than others?’’ AA Driving School general manager Roger Venn said.
It comes after a slew of road rage incidents including in January when a young boy watched as his father was dragged from his car and punched in the face multiple times and, in December, a 93-year-old man was verbally abused and injured in a road rage incident, north of Auckland.
Venn said an agitated person at the wheel had a ripple effect.
‘‘If somebody cuts you off at the supermarket do you start ranting and raving? No, you say ‘sorry’ or ‘that’s okay’. That’s the way we should operate on the road.
‘‘If we all just relaxed a little bit, while maintaining concentration, I think the whole traffic system would flow a lot easier.
‘‘There’d be more people let into queues, there’d be less harsh braking and more gentle moving of traffic rather than people cutting in or failing to merge,’’ he said.
General road etiquette included merging like a zip, indicating in time before changing lanes and keeping a good fol- lowing distance.
There were other things that made for a courteous driver, Venn said.
‘‘A simple thank you by a wave of a hand or a flash of the lights is all that’s required.
‘‘That just means people will pass it on and say, ‘Oh that was nice, somebody actually let me in and I’ll do the same next time,’ and it’s as simple as that, just simple manners.’’
Venn said good manners did not come naturally to all drivers and that is why he believed it should be included in the road code.
‘‘There’s space for an actual overt section on driving etiquette and how to control emotions and how to respond to aggressive driving,’’ Venn said.
‘‘I don’t think that’s particularly referred to strongly in the road code.’’
Venn said it was a lot more than just a test.
‘‘It’s about being a competent, safe and defensive driver in all situations and that includes [having] etiquette and being a considerate road user.’’
Police often encouraged drivers to keep a level head behind the wheel.