Road rage is a product of several factors including higher volumes of traffic, road works and more people commuting by car due to an expensive and sometimes unreliable public transport system.
By identifying the signs of potential road rage and adjusting your driving plans you can drastically reduce your chances in becoming involved in a road rage incident.
As a professional driver, carrying a client, you must supply a comfortable, stress free, expeditious journey. Will your client be aware of what has led to an incident or will he/she just see the resulting behaviour.
The recipe for Road Rage
All drivers have experienced road rage to varying degrees from slight annoyance to frustration and anger.
From motorway and city driving to A roads and winding country lanes. They all have potential for road rage.
Frustrated and stressed drivers can make poor driving decisions in an attempt to make progress. Inexperienced drivers exceed their capability. Some drivers drive too slow and queues form behind them. Lane hogging and tail gating. Driving too close in poor driving conditions. Undertaking, cutting in front, moving into the space left as a safe following distance. The list could go on and on.
Muttering and mouthing expletives, horn sounding, accompanied by hand gestures are just some of some driver's reactions.
The vast majority of incidents are not reported and put down to experience as not something the police would, or are able, to investigate.
High profile cases such as the recent case of 79 year old Donald Lock, a cyclist, who was stabbed to death by Matthew Daly, a mentally ill driver. 1996 when Kenneth Noye murdered another driver after a road rage incident on the M25.
These serious incidents are rare and should be considered in context compared to the thousands and thousands of vehicle journeys in the UK.
Time - Allow plenty of time for your journey and make recommendations for a collection time.
Route - Use Google Maps to plan your route and look at the alternatives. Try and anticipate the variables that will affect journey time.
Research - Date and time of travel. There may be an event that will affect progress or access.
Your Driving Skills
Observation, hazard perception and anticipation are the key words to a good driving standard. Your driving skill is such a large part of the service you provide and avoiding road rage incidents is critical.
I can not identify all potential scenarios as there are too many. A good driver is aware of their surroundings. Driving plans that others make may also affect you. A good example is on the motorway approaching a junction 'on slip' which is used as an acceleration lane/s for traffic joining. Yes, you are entitled to use lane 1 (adjacent to the hard shoulder). However, by not using lane 2 or 3 you may come into conflict with joining traffic.
Your Reaction to Bad Driving
Don't react negatively and draw attention to yourself.
It is always better that the bad driver is ahead rather than behind.
Perception is all
Perception is based upon an individual's experience, attitudes and standards. A perception may not be accurate and correct resulting in conflict with another driver.
Negative reaction may be taken personally and the other driver may direct their attention at you. This may develop into a Road Rage incident and result in an upsetting and stressful event. You don't know what the other driver is capable and he may be the Kenneth Noye or Matthew Daly type!
Right or wrong - You may be in the right but will the 'bad driver' have that opinion? Or would he/she care?
My aim is always to have a stress free journey and to avoid any potential road rage incident.
Reporting to the Police and What They Require
The Police will consider various crucial aspects of your complaint. Some of which I have included.
All police forces have policies and procedures which are affected by several factors and most importantly budgets.
All investigated complaints are investigated according to the severity of the case and with more than a 50% chance of a successful prosecution. For example, a minor damage hit & run car park accident will not result in paint samples being analysed. For a criminal prosecution it is 'beyond all reasonable doubt'. This compares to a civil case where it is 'a balance of probabilities.'
Generally, the Police will not investigate if there are no other witnesses, or available reasonable lines of enquiry, because it will be your account against the other driver's.
Evidence, evidence, evidence. Without evidence the Police are powerless to investigate or come to any acceptable resolution.
Witnesses - Can corroborate your evidence. A passenger in your car will be taken into account but would not be considered unbiased or independent. An independent witness is the best witness as they have nothing to gain by offering their account of the incident.
If you can't get names and addresses then record registration numbers for police to contact the DVLA keepers.
CCTV - With council budgets being cut and some systems being shut down CCTV evidence may be less available. The Police can obtain available evidence from councils and motorway camera systems.
Dash Cams - Valuable evidence which can corroborate your account. Also good for any insurance claim. Recordings may identify the vehicle subject to the complaint and supply witness car registrations.
Avoid Road Rage for a Stress Free Journey
I believe in Karma (cause and effect) and 'what goes around comes around'. A bad driver who continually draws attention to themselves will eventually get there 'comeuppance' whether by a legal document from the Police or attract the attention of a driver who will react inappropriately.
Deliver your client to their destination having had a relaxed and comfortable journey. You will be relaxed and happy too.
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