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Road rage in South Africa sees a slight decrease

50% of South African drivers have experienced aggressive or threatening driving behaviour from other drivers in the past 12 months, according to Synovate's recent road rage study. This is a 4% decrease since the last measurement in May 2007.
Drivers experiencing aggressive and / threatening driving behaviour
Road rage in South Africa sees a slight decrease

Overall there has been a decrease in both those directing road rage towards other drivers and those who have been victims of it. The results of Synovate's latest Road Rage measurement reflects the views of 1999 respondents across Gauteng, Durban and Cape Town. Respondents were questioned on various factors which contribute to road rage in South Africa.

Of all the actions, persistent flashing of headlights and hooting are most often used to express anger towards other drivers on the road. The persistent flashing of headlights did however see a notable decline in the latest measurement. Overall, those experiencing this behaviour showed a decrease from 48% to 41% and only 24% had directed this behaviour to other drivers compared to 27% from the last reading.

Overall, the amount of rude gestures and verbal insults being directed towards other drivers dropped from 26% to 23%. Capetonians proved to be least likely to direct rude gestures or verbal insults towards other drivers with a frequency of 18%, which is a 5% drop from the last measurement. Compared to the other regions, Cape Town experienced the lowest level of road rage across all attributes.

Respondents who had directed rude gestures or verbals insults towards other drivers
Road rage in South Africa sees a slight decrease

On the negative side there has been a slight increase in the amount of threatening behaviour being experienced where the person physically got out of their vehicle (8% to 9%). Gauteng received the highest number of claims here with 10%. More males reported falling victim to this threatening behaviour (10%) compared to women (5%).

Overall, men both experience and express higher levels of Road Rage compared to woman. Women admitted to using the persistent sounding of the hooter more often than other aggressive expressions (23%) while men more commonly used the persistent flashing of headlights (26%). These findings are expected, since Men tend to demonstrate anger more aggressively, while women are more comfortable staying in their car when expressing their frustration.

Looking at drivers of various vehicle types, drivers of high performance sports cars came up tops for using threatening behaviour such as physical assault or the use of weapon compared to drivers of other vehicles types. Mini van drivers directed the highest number of rude gestures towards other drivers, with 50% admitting to this behaviour.

On the receiving end, Truck drivers received the highest reported number of verbal insults or gestures (71%) compared to drivers of other vehicle types. This could be due to their slow pace, often resulting in drivers who are stuck behind them becoming impatient and angry.

Respondents who had experienced Road Rage
Road rage in South Africa sees a slight decrease

Respondents who had directed aggressive behaviour towards other drivers
Road rage in South Africa sees a slight decrease

Advocate Johan Jonck from Arrive Alive commented on the results of Synovate's Road Rage study saying “High levels of frustrations are evident from the interaction between the public and the reports submitted via the Arrive Alive website to the National Traffic Call Centre.”

38% of drivers admitted that most aggressive behaviour on the roads usually occurs on their commute to and from work. This is a notable decrease of 15% from Synovate's last measurement. A quarter of respondents said that this behaviour does not occur at any specific period but rather that it could occur at any given time.

“I believe that traffic congestion is a contributing factor, but the most important factor is the inconsiderate and dangerous driving behaviour of some drivers who believe they are above the law, swerving through traffic and driving within yellow lanes to the frustrations of those drivers obeying the law” Jonck added.

Recent reports of road rage to Arrive Alive are characterised by major blow ups over very small offenses. This demonstrates the high amount of stress that drivers are experiencing.
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