Increasing road rage putting learner drivers at risk

Moving Well | Sue Hewitt | Image: Getty | Posted on 20 August 2019

Learners facing rising levels of road rage and aggressive driving.

It’s hard enough trying to teach a learner to drive without having to deal with rude gestures –  or worse –from other motorists.

RACV’s Learning to Drive survey of drivers supervising learners found at least one in 10 often faced aggression or road rage from other drivers this year, up from eight per cent in RACV’s 2015 survey.

Man in flannel shirt getting angry and yelling while driving a car

Only a third of those surveyed say their learners have never experienced anger from other drivers.

The latest survey reveals that 35 per cent of supervising drivers found dealing with road rage and aggressive incidents challenging or very challenging, up from 31 per cent in 2015.

Of course, aggression on the roads can be confronting or dangerous for all drivers, whether they are learners, supervising drivers or regular commuters. RACV’s education programs coordinator and safety and education team member, Rebekah Smith, offers these tips for dealing with road rage or aggressive drivers:

  • Avoid confrontation. Rebekah says to remain calm, courteous and respectful of all other road users and avoid retaliating to verbal abuse or rude gestures. 

  • Keep your eyes on the road. Even if you are being tailgated, focus on what is happening in front of you on the road to avoid accidents.

  • Stay in your car. Getting out of your car and confronting an aggressive driver can escalate the problem, says Rebekah. It can also put you at risk of harm from the other driver who may try and hit you with their car or their fists.

  • Don’t go home. Rebekah says no matter how much you want to escape, don’t lead an angry driver to your front door. She suggests driving to a police station or somewhere with a lot of people.

  • Call for help. If you feel seriously threatened, Rebekah says to get your passenger to call police on a mobile phone or use a hands-free phone yourself.

RACV participates in the federal government-funded Keys2Drive program where parents or supervisors with their learners get a free one-hour driving lesson