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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


Road rage one of SA’s biggest killers

Road rage was more common in men due to testosterone.


Road rage is one of the top reasons you could get killed in South Africa, listed as the one of biggest causative factors for murder in the crime statistics released on Friday.

During the presentation of the third-quarter figures for 2021-2022, it was revealed arguments and misunderstandings related to road rage and/or provocation accounted for 1,151 murders.

There were also 1,215 attempted murder cases, including road rage incidents, along with 21,188 grievous bodily harm cases for the three months.

Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said when a motorist committed a traffic offence such as skipping a red light, cutting off another motorist, overtaking when it was not safe, ignoring a stop sign, or reckless or negligent driving, it caused other motorists to react aggressively.

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“Some road rage can become very aggressive and it ends up in assault or, worst-case scenario, murder,” Minnaar said.

Automobile Association (AA) spokesperson Layton Beard said road rage was always an issue.

“It affects road safety and we always tell people, road rage is something that happens in your vehicle, but is rather a combination of things.”

Beard said if a person had a bad night’s rest, woke up, fought with somebody in the household, spilled coffee on themselves, all before getting into the car, it could put the person in a state of agitation.

“Then, when somebody cuts you off or doesn’t stop at the robot, they immediately fly into road rage,” he said.

Beard said people needed to understand everyone made mistakes in traffic.

“We need to cut each other slack, especially for minor mistakes. There is no perfect driver in the world,” he said.

Beard said to ask yourself if the incident was worthy of raging over and getting out of your vehicle and hurting another person or killing them, “10 out of 10 it is not worth it”.

He said people don’t consider the consequences of their road rage.

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Champion Sport Psychology director Lloyd Bemelman said road rage was more common in men due to testosterone.

“But everyone has a lack of tolerance towards people and the situation, and [may get] out of their car,” he said. Bemelman said people need to take control of their emotions.

“The definition of anger is a loss of control. Everybody has been cut off the road, but not everybody gets out of their cars and fights about it.”

He said people become upset when others ignored the rules of the road.

“Aggression is a learned behaviour. If you socialise with those supporting fighting, you will be 10 times more likely to fight.”