Fladun / The violence that stalks our roads

“Abusing people or following them to have a go at them and maybe knock their block off really is insane,” writes Mum in the City columnist SONYA FLADUN

IT can be pretty scary being threatened with physical violence. Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about it in my daily life; well, that is apart from on Canberra roads.

Sonya-Fladun

Sonya Fladun.

There are some scary drivers out there – from those who try to hug your boot or roam across lanes aimlessly like Brown’s cow, to those who believe no one belongs in the right lane but them, even when you have to make a right turn!

We all make mistakes on the road. Distraction, forgetfulness and momentary confusion can all play a part in road errors, but on the whole most of us get from A to B alive and well.

What distresses me is the apparently increasing tendency for some people to go ballistic in response to the smallest of errors or even just hesitation from other drivers.

Abusing people, chasing them down, trying to scare them by flicking lights off while running right up their back, honking at them like an angry hornet long after the event, or following them in an effort to wait until they stop so you can have a go at them and maybe knock their block off – all that really is insane.

My better half recently inadvertently cut off another driver when he missed seeing the car in our blind spot. It was a simple error. There was no accident. There was no contact, let alone damage or injury. But that prompted the other driver to follow us to our son’s school drop off, leap out of his car and abuse my husband. He kicked the door of our car, all the while standing in the way of oncoming traffic.

A female friend recently spent a terrifying 40 minutes chased by a creep who wanted to have a go at her. He had merged nearly into her and then turned violent, objecting to having someone toot him in warning. It wasn’t until she pulled out her phone and photographed his numberplate that he took off.

Other friends have recounted disturbing instances of road rage. Most seem to go unreported to the police.

We should take pride in how safely we drive and look to be defensive rather than offensive on our roads. We need to show our kids cool, calm and collected road behaviour that they can model, not how aggressively we out manoeuvre other cars.

When someone makes a mistake we should congratulate ourselves for being able to avoid an accident. Tooting someone is to warn them not abuse them.

If you are threatened, don’t engage in any angry exchange. Keep the doors locked. If you can, photograph the other car’s numberplate and, if need be, call 000.

After all, driving involves decisions that can be ones of life and death. Competition, anger or rage should never be a part of the mix.

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