Mayo County Council in Ireland has issued a “blueprint” for dealing with road rage in the wake of a TV documentary looking at stress and aggression on Irish roads.
Mean Streets, screened on RTE on 26 January, concluded that “stress and aggression are commonplace on Irish roads”. The programme cited examples of “all-out altercations, bad manners and road rage played out almost every day on Irish streets”.
In an earlier survey of Irish drivers in 2012, 40% of respondents admitted “getting angry” while driving at least once a week – and 13% said they had gone as far as getting out of the vehicle in order to confront another driver.
Noel Gibbons, Mayo’s road safety officer, suggests that most “habitual aggressors” are in an argumentative and antagonistic state of mind even before they get into their car.
He said: “They see their car journey as a contest between themselves and other drivers who they believe shouldn’t be on the road in the first place.”
Noel Gibbons is warning drivers to become more aware of actions that are most likely to lead to a road rage incident. He says that these include slow driving, following too close to the car in front, unsafe lane changes, flashing headlights, blowing the car horn and obscene hand gestures.
He added: “In order to avoid a confrontation motorists should not over-react. They should put their pride in the back seat. Don’t challenge the other driver by speeding up or attempting to hold your own with them.
“Don’t endanger yourself by trying to evade the driver, don’t gesture or retaliate in any way and avoid eye contact.”