While it has become almost fashionable to make jokes about the frustration some motorists feel when stuck behind ‘a bloody grey nomad’, the road rage epidemic sweeping Australia is no laughing matter.
According to an NRMA survey of ACT and NSW drivers, seven in 10 have experienced road rage in the past year, with nearly one in five motorists admitting being the ‘rager’. Examples include persistently leaning on the horn, making rude hand gestures, using abusive language … and worse.
The study revealed that 80% of respondents were left unsettled by a road rage encounter, with nearly half admitting they had lost confidence behind the wheel. The survey of 1300 drivers found 12% reported having their sleep affected by the incident.
About three-quarters of respondents said they did not know there were specific laws in place applying to road rage.
Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reports that charges of menacing driving can apply to provable acts of intimidation on the road. The more serious “predatory driving” charge applies when there is the act or intent to use a vehicle as a weapon.
“Our advice is to ignore the aggression and don’t become aggressive yourself because you risk losing your licence or facing serious criminal charges,” Head of the NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, John Hartley, told the Telegraph. “Remember that as the driver it is your responsibility to stay patient.”