Picture this Scenario!!! I'm driving my car along this single lane, busy city-road. Suddenly this taxi guy ahead of me pulls over to the side to pick a customer without any warning and somehow causes a mild traffic jam. Then from nowhere, this crazy Keke Napep guy (Could this type of behavior be why LASG banned Keke Napep?) tries to squeeze through the little space to my right with such arrogance.
Meanwhile, I'm here, trying to navigate past the taxi guy just in front of me. "Can you imagine this rubbish" is all over my head and I'm like, "My Friend are you silly or are you trying to be stupid !!!, See no scratch my car ooo," and the crazy guy gives this insulting reply that brings me down from my car and ready to beat the demon out of this idiot. The word-picture above gives an idea of how incidences of road rage begin, which sometimes degenerate to fatal events or instances where people get seriously injured.
Some drivers can be abusive and just plain aggravating
What is Road Rage?
Generally, a road rage involves those driving behaviors that are rooted in aggression, usually in response to perceived slight from other road users. This type of behavior generally results in events that escalate and turn violent with a good deal of shouting, fighting, and maybe drawn weapons. Nigerian roads witness incidences of road rage on a daily basis, with some being just so funny, while others get really nasty. Just last month in Imo State, a taxi driver was killed because he scratched the aggressor's car.
The Aggressor, who was driving in a Lexus RX 350 SUV, was scratched by this taxi guy, and on coming down and in his rage, dealt a fatal blow to the taxi guy, leading to his untimely death right there. Another recent case was that of this teenage girl in Calabar, who went into an argument with this Keke rider and without looking turned into the road and was hit by an on-coming Keke Napep. Thankfully she survived but with some real serious injuries all over her body.
Check out this video below about road rage in Nigeria:
Road Rage triggers and causal factors
There are a number of factors that generally instigate road rage, but it must be noted that the gravity of the incidents that result from this behavior is far too disproportionate when compared to the triggers. For instance, a driver suddenly cuts in front of your car without warning, which gets you so mad, you come down, get in a shouting match, pick up your wheel spanner and smatch his windscreen and backlights. Before long, you guys are exchanging blows and someone ends up in the hospital.
Well, the trigger was that he cut across you without warning, but the result was smatched windscreens and hospital bills. Far too unbalanced, isn't it? Anyways, let's take a look at the underlying factors that cause Road Rage:
Mental health and medical disorders
I choose this as my number one factor because it is the most neglected. Many Nigerians have mental health issues and health disorders that they do not even know about. These mental health issues and health disorders have been seriously fingered as underlying causes of road rage incidents. People with severe cases of depression and anxiety are generally inclined to road rage. Also, people with personality disorders are always generally violent and will thus be prone to getting involved in road rage.
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Mental Health Issues and Disorders is a known causal factor in Road Rage incidents
When we say environmental factors, we refer to factors present in the immediate area where this road rage events occur. Such environmental factors include things like traffic jams, unannounced road diversions, blaring car horns, loud music from another car, etc. These factors are well-known road rage triggers. Remember people react differently to these factors; while some can accommodate these perfectly, others may not be so calm and will likely become a bit more cranky as a result. Thus, they are more inclined to react irrationally and excessively to a perceived offense. Other environmental factors include;
1. Work Stress
2. Rowdy and overcrowded nature of city life
3. Use of hard drugs by motorists and road users
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People generally feel protected and indomitable when inside a car. This mindset allows them to act rudely, but take them out of the car, and they are as gentle as doves.
- A desire to bully and show power
A recent study has shown that incidents of road rage tend to occur when there is an imbalance in strength among intending road ragers. Someone who feels he can easily overpower the other person is more likely to get into road rage.
Tips on how to avoid Road Rage
Plan your trip beforehand
The best advice we can give on how best to avoid most environmental factors that trigger Road Rage is this, PLAN YOUR TRIP BEFOREHAND. Before leaving your house or current location, make an informed decision on which route to follow, considering the prevailing traffic conditions on those routes. It is likely that if you choose a route with light traffic, you may most likely not get involved in a road rage incident which has generally been known to occur on heavy traffic routes and roads.
Stay focused on the road
Please make sure you avoid distractions and maintain full focus on your driving. This way you are likely to notice any unusual behavior in good time and thus make sound decisions before things can even get out of hand.
Be always ready to overlook offenses
Please if you want to avoid the madness that comes with road rage, eh, just overlook plenty of things for the sake of peace and don't take this aggression personally. Some times those that offend us may be having a terrible day and some do not even know they have offended you. Remember, the scenario mentioned above; what if the driver had overlooked the dangerous cut-in by the other driver, very likely the windscreens would still have been intact and no one would have ended up in the hospital.
Avoid the fire for fire syndrome
This behavior is always like fuel to possible road rage situations. Rather than reply in the same tone and words like "You are very stupid too" or get physical in equal measure or return the middle finger gesture, why not try the "Water for Fire Syndrome" by not returning evil for evil. Always conquer evil with good.
Some people are just well-dressed Lunatics driving in a car
Just avoid some kind of wahala
There some people that are just crazy and act it. So if you stumble on such on the road, please try to avoid getting in a fight with such people, it's best you fix your car at your own cost rather than get seriously injured or lose your life to a lunatic.
This video is an example of what happens when you don't exercise caution with your emotions.
Tips on how to manage Road Rage
Truth is there are times when we just find ourselves in a road rage situation that is gradually going to escalate. If that is the case, then try the following tips,
- Try to remain very calm
This is the golden rule of managing a gradually escalating road rage incident. Remaining calm will mean that you do keep your tone low but firm. Try not to raise your voice during the heat of it. If you are at fault, it is wise to say "I AM SORRY", you may add the following if the other car is damaged "PLEASE HOW CAN I HELP IN FIXING THIS DAMAGE". Experience has shown that a calm disposition and a sincere "SORRY" has ended so many heated arguments.
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- Stay in your car or move to a safe place
There are cases where SORRY does not help matters. In that case, we advise that you remain or get back in your car while remaining calm. If the situation seems to be getting more heated, please move away to a safe distance while keeping an eye on your car. Make sure you take your valuables and lock your car safely if possible. Most times, staying in your car and not responding to the aggressor, cools off the situation.
If possible find ways to drive away from the scene and make sure you are not followed by the aggressor. If indeed you are followed, please avoid driving home; rather than this, try to take down the plate number of the car and promptly drive into a police station and lodge an official complaint. Hopefully, Nigerian Police will handle the case properly.
A calm head will always win at the end of the day
We are sure you will be better prepared when hitting the road the next time and most likely you will know what to do when confronted with a Road Rage scenario, and will better handle an already escalating incident.
We have other very insightful tips for you here on Naijauto, make sure to check them out.