Aggressive driving is increasing across the world

South Africa is not immune to this scourge and it needs to be curbed.

Recent statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the USA, say in the last decade there was an alarming rise in the incident of aggressive driving and consequently fatal crashes. In less than a decade, fatal crashes linked to aggressive driving rose nearly 500%: in 2006 there were 80 recorded incidents and by 2015 there were 467.

The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, said the same study estimates road rage actually plays a role in at least half of all fatal crashes in the USA. “Aggressive driving is not just the cases where people get out of their cars and become violent, but also includes dangerous behaviour such as tailgating, sideswiping, throwing objects at other drivers and even forcing them off the road. All of which can have fatal and life-changing consequences for all involved.

“South Africa, unfortunately, has a reputation for being one of the countries most affected by road rage, so if these statistics are being seen in other countries, it is likely the same is being replicated here, but on an even higher scale. While there are various causes for road rage, a considerable one for fleets is work stressors such as long hours, traffic jams or confrontation in other areas of one’s life or with other drivers.”

As a fleet owner or manager, there are certain steps that can help prevent drivers from making bad decisions behind the wheel because of frustration or anger:

• Alleviate stress: provide options for drivers for stress management and also encourage drivers to take five minutes to calm down before getting behind the wheel when stressed or angry.
• Timeliness: running late is actually a leading cause of road rage. Require drivers to always add 15 minutes to travel times so that any unexpected challenges can be managed safely.
• No tolerance policies: make certain driving habits such as tailgating, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic and only using the fast lane to pass other vehicles, non-negotiable job requirements. Should a driver break these rules, take action immediately.
• Let it go: teach drivers to never respond or engage with other hostile or aggressive drivers. Rather move out of their way and allow them to pass and avoid any potentially dangerous engagement.
• Driver training: another study conducted by NHTSA, it found fleets that train regularly have 25% fewer crashes and violations. Training teaches drivers about road rage causes, and how to handle it and provides defensive driving skills often necessary to avoid further negative consequences.
• Drive nice, it is contagious: follow MasterDrive’s tagline which is to always be courteous to every driver on the road and potentially avoid inciting anger from others or to help in handling a driver who is already angry. Your decision to be courteous to an angry driver may just be the reason they calm down.

The consequences of drivers losing their temper in traffic is far-reaching for the driver and the reputation of your company. “If there is anything you can do to reduce a driver’s stressors, you should not even be thinking twice about it,” said Herbert.

Source: MotorPress

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