Vast majority of Kiwi drivers have been the victim of road rage

A new, nationally representative survey has found that 85 per cent of Kiwi drivers have been on the receiving end of road rage in the past ten years.
The study, by Finder, asked 1505 New Zealand drivers aged 18 and over about their experiences on the road. It found that the number one offence experienced was aggressive tailgating, with 64 per cent of respondents saying their rear bumper had been ridden.

The second most common road rage incident was other drivers blasting their horn (60 per cent), followed by being shouted or sworn at (40 per cent) and being cut off on purpose (38 per cent).

85 per cent of Kiwi drivers have been on the receiving end of road rage.

That same number of drivers said another driver had given them the finger, while five per cent had been injured by someone affected by road rage.

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Kevin McHugh, Finders publisher in New Zealand, urged drivers to keep their cool behind the wheel.

Road rage can be a major contributor to car accidents, yet its completely avoidable if you keep calm instead of lashing out.

Its normal to get annoyed while driving from time to time, especially if another drivers actions are selfish, frustrating or downright dangerous.

But you should never act on those emotions. This can put your own life and the lives of others at risk, and you dont want to make a split-second decision that you regret for the rest of your life, McHugh said.

Nearly 40 per cent of respondents had been shouted or sworn at, as well as been given the finger.

Interestingly, millennials are the most likely to have encountered aggressive behaviour from other drivers, with 88 per cent confirming, followed by 86 per cent of Generation X.

It probably wont come as much of a surprise to hear Auckland topped the list for road rage, with 88 per cent of Aucklanders asked saying they had experienced road rage. Compare that to around 82 per cent of Wellington drivers.

Some experts, like psychiatrist Dr Ian Lambie from the University of Auckland, think that human behaviour changes when we get behind the wheel.

It's important to recognise when road rage is brewing inside yourself. But also keeping safe from the same in others.

"People feel disinhibited [on the road]. Being physically separated from another person lessens the social controls we have over certain things. It acts as a guard. We forget that we are actually in charge of a lethal weapon."

We also stop editing our behaviours as much. "There are things we would say when driving in our car that we are far less likely to say in a one-to-one situation because of social etiquette and the consequences of our actions."

However, Lambie also suggests that road rage resulting in dangerous, and sometimes illegal actions, probably happens when people already have problems managing their behaviour.

"For some people bad driving around them will simply go over their heads. It won't mean anything. Or they'll register that it's happened but [decide] it's not worth getting upset. A person's reaction to a situation is about their level of impulsivity, and their innate level of emotional self-regulation.

In layman's terms, it's whether they have a short fuse."

Road rage isnt a criminal offence in New Zealand, but it can lead into offences such as assault, intent to injure, and reckless driving. If you experience or see someone else experience road rage, you can call you can take down the details of the car and driver and call *555 to report dangerous driving to the police, who will look out for the car.


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