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What’s your worst Canberra road rage experience?

By Jane Speechley - 25 June 2017 27

Road Rage

It’s been a while since I’ve encountered a real example of road rage, and it got me thinking – when has this happened to you?

The other evening I was driving home, after a trip to the chemist no less, to pick up all the drugs to treat my first decent flu of the season.

Turning left out of the main street of Queanbeyan – diagonally opposite the police station – I had a red turn light that remained while the main light was green.

This was not good news for the person in the large white dual-cab ute behind me, who was clearly very important and in a serious rush.

When the light turned green, he or she waited precisely no seconds to sit on the horn.

And I mean, literally, as soon as the light changed – with pedestrians still on the crossing – old mate was hard on that horn.

I really do try not to aggravate people on the roads, most of the time. Previously, anyone who has beeped me when I have been too slow to move off has gotten a quick response and an apologetic wave.

But in this situation, I did what I think any sane person would do: I took that corner more cautiously (read: slowly) than I normally would. Because I’m not going to be rushed into a dangerous situation.

Obviously, this was a huge affront to Quicky McHornface behind me, who proceeded to follow me, tailgating and high-beaming all the way to my home street. A good 15 minutes drive away, in total.

That’s some serious commitment. Who is in such a rush, but can afford to go that far out of their way?

I’m sure I was dealing with a 17 year old with feelings of inadequacy and a big hormonal chip on their shoulder. I think he (or she!?) was doing their best to intimidate me, and they might have succeeded if I was alone or feeling vulnerable.

Fortunately, this was not the case – if only they knew how much my passenger and I were laughing at them from inside our cabin.

I’ve written before about the lunatic behaviour of some people on our roads and some of our worst driving habits – both of which can cause a fair bit of frustration.

Just last week, some twerp overtook me (and about three other cars) at about 40kms above the speed limit, in the inside turning lane, before cutting off a line of other cars and very nearly causing a major accident.

It was irritating, but it didn’t occur to me to follow them and seek revenge. Quite the contrary – I was happy for him or her to get as far away from me as possible.

But you’ve gotta wonder – why are these people so angry?

Here in Canberra, for example, we reside in one of the most liveable cities in the world. We have good socio-economic conditions, good-quality roads and pretty reasonable commutes by most standards.

Why are some of us so mad?

It’d be easy to blame the pace and stress of modern life. But road rage isn’t a new phenomenon. In fact, it was the subject of Steven Spielberg’s first full-length feature film as a director, the 1971 classic, Duel.

I’m not sure if road rage is becoming more common, or we’re just hearing more about it.

Google it, and you’ll find news stories about angry drivers ploughing through fences and multiple vehicles, abusing truckies and climbing onto their vehicles, and wild all-in brawls on the road.

The most likely reason seems to come down to individual personalities.

Last year, researchers from the University of Queensland School of Psychology found a clear link between driver aggression and narcissistic personality traits (which include a lack of empathy, need for admiration, sense of entitlement and willingness to exploit others to achieve one’s own ends).

Notably, the researchers also found those who reported experiencing driver aggression – either as a victim or perpetrator – were 158 times more likely to report having been involved in a crash. Yikes.

So it’s not just a matter of harmlessly blowing off some steam. There are real consequences here. This guy lost his job, but he might be considered lucky – others have been hurt, or even killed.

Finally, let’s not forget, mobile phone cameras and the increasing proliferation of dash cams mean you’re more and more unlikely to get away with bad behaviour. If the police don’t catch you, the Canberra driving community will be only too pleased to name and shame you on the internet.

How can it possibly be worth it?

Over to you – what’s the worst example of road rage you’ve seen or experienced? And if you’re feeling brave – have you ever been guilty of overreacting and regretting it later?

What’s Your opinion?


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27 Responses to
What’s your worst Canberra road rage experience?
1
Blen_Carmichael 8:38 am
25 Jun 17
#

“In fact, it was the subject of Steven Spielberg’s first full-length feature film as a director, the 1971 classic, Dual.”

In fact, it was Duel.

2
Spiral 9:21 am
25 Jun 17
#

I found this bit very interesting:

“Notably, the researchers also found those who reported experiencing driver aggression – either as a victim or perpetrator – were 158 times more likely to report having been involved in a crash”

That seems to suggest that while without a doubt road rage perpetrators are bad drivers and scum, at least some of the victims may be bad drivers themselves.

That is not an excuse for the bad behaviour of the perpetrators (in the same way that leaving your car unlocked is not an excuse for someone stealing it).

But it does seem to support anecdotes of road rage being triggered by a bad driver doing something stupid, which the perpetrator then over reacts to, leading to the road rage incident..

3
bikhet 10:50 am
25 Jun 17
#

“Last year, researchers from the University of Queensland School of Psychology found a clear link between driver aggression and narcissistic personality traits (which include a lack of empathy, need for admiration, sense of entitlement and willingness to exploit others to achieve one’s own ends).”

Jeez, I’d hate to be on the same roads as Donald Trump if he was driving!

4
Rollersk8r 11:26 am
25 Jun 17
#

No specific incidents to report lately – although I’m in a near constant state of bemusement over ACT drivers who seem to have never driven on our roads before.

You mean I have to be in the left lane to turn left? This must be a new intersection!?

Why are all these cars braking while I’m accelerating? This form one lane must be new?

I’m doing 90kmh in the bus lane while all other traffic is stopped. Erm, I’m not from around here…?

5
wrigbe 11:55 am
25 Jun 17
#

I really think that ad with the old ladies wriggling their little fingers to one another when some idiot tore past, really needs to be reshown. This is what people think when you drive crazily people.

6
Lucy Baker 6:11 pm
25 Jun 17
#

I flashed my headlights at a jerk who cut in in front of me – he got in the right lane, dropped back, then tailgated me all the way to my work, which must have been out of his way as my building is the only workplace in its road. He appeared to drop off when I turned into the building car park and appeared to drive off. I stopped for a bit and then drove on towards the paid car park where I needed to park – driver was lurking nearby and resumed tailgating me. I actually had to drive around the block then was luckily able to swipe into under my building where I was safe. Scariest experience of my driving life by far – if I hadn’t had the option of driving under my building I would have almost certainly been in physical danger.

7
basketcase 7:32 pm
25 Jun 17
#

As someone once said, the shortest time interval known in the world is that between a light turning green and the horn of a following car.

These days I ride a bike and find the car park battles for a vacant space interesting, car park rage perhaps? Disability spots aren’t exempt from rage.

How some wars are started, resource shortage. Just human nature I guess.

8
JC 9:40 pm
25 Jun 17
#

20 years ago had a bit of an issue with a guy in Belconnen. He was in the right hand lane of William Hovell Drive approaching the Drake Brockman roundabout and was sitting more or less besides me and wanted to get into the left hand lane (I presume he wanted to turn). I was in no position to pull back and let him in, as it was time to slow down for the roundabout anyway and I had a car up my clacker so couldn’t brake hard. He was tooting and waving his hands furiously. I turned left myself and went to Kippax shopping centre.

Then as I was leaving here he was sitting in his car waiting for me and then when he sees me get into my car comes over for a chat. I told him to piss off and started to drive home, only to find him following me, so instead I turned onto Southern Cross drive and drove to the police station instead where I reported him. The silly bugger followed me all the way too, but cleared off when I stopped out front.

And maybe not road rage of that nature the other day in Belconnen took off from lights on Cameron Ave heading onto Chan Street. 4WD was in right hand lane took off slower than me but then accelerated harder and past me towards the merge on the other side of Benjamin Way. I backed off to let him go first but he veered across the centre line almost hitting me, so gave a toot to say I am here, only to be met with a brake check and the bird after the merge. Seriously WFT?

9
Maya123 12:48 pm
26 Jun 17
#

JC said :

20 years ago had a bit of an issue with a guy in Belconnen. He was in the right hand lane of William Hovell Drive approaching the Drake Brockman roundabout and was sitting more or less besides me and wanted to get into the left hand lane (I presume he wanted to turn). I was in no position to pull back and let him in, as it was time to slow down for the roundabout anyway and I had a car up my clacker so couldn’t brake hard. He was tooting and waving his hands furiously. I turned left myself and went to Kippax shopping centre.

Then as I was leaving here he was sitting in his car waiting for me and then when he sees me get into my car comes over for a chat. I told him to piss off and started to drive home, only to find him following me, so instead I turned onto Southern Cross drive and drove to the police station instead where I reported him. The silly bugger followed me all the way too, but cleared off when I stopped out front.

And maybe not road rage of that nature the other day in Belconnen took off from lights on Cameron Ave heading onto Chan Street. 4WD was in right hand lane took off slower than me but then accelerated harder and past me towards the merge on the other side of Benjamin Way. I backed off to let him go first but he veered across the centre line almost hitting me, so gave a toot to say I am here, only to be met with a brake check and the bird after the merge. Seriously WFT?

Was the 4WD black? I tend to find aggressive creeps mostly drive black ones.

10
Garfield 1:00 pm
26 Jun 17
#

Maybe 6 years ago I was heading west on Parkes Way towards the City in almost peak hour traffic. I was in the right hand lane moving slightly faster than the left hand lane and leaving a safe gap between myself and the car in front. A shiny red Holden sedan zoomed up behind me well over the speed limit. It was sitting only a few metres behind me. There was nowhere for me to go as there was a car to my left, but this youngish male driver wanted me out of his way. I’d been rear ended before by someone less aggressive than this and tapped on the brakes just hard enough so that they lit up to let him know he was too close. That sent him into a mad frenzy, which probably wasn’t helped that a little further down the track I had to brake slightly to maintain the safe distance from the car in front of me. When we reached a small gap in the left lane, he pulled into it before I had a chance to. I wanted to ensure there was a safe gap between me and the car that would have been behind me in the left lane. He didn’t overtake but stayed alongside me, rolled down his window and yelled abuse at me, which I ignored. Then he threw a part eaten sandwich and after I ignored that I think he scooped up coins from his centre console and threw them at my car, leaving half a dozen scratches. He kept driving on and by the time we reached the Glenloch Interchange he must have been all of 5 seconds in front. Reported it to police and they said next time to call 000 from the car regardless of phone laws.

11
JC 3:38 pm
26 Jun 17
#

Maya123 said :

JC said :

20 years ago had a bit of an issue with a guy in Belconnen. He was in the right hand lane of William Hovell Drive approaching the Drake Brockman roundabout and was sitting more or less besides me and wanted to get into the left hand lane (I presume he wanted to turn). I was in no position to pull back and let him in, as it was time to slow down for the roundabout anyway and I had a car up my clacker so couldn’t brake hard. He was tooting and waving his hands furiously. I turned left myself and went to Kippax shopping centre.

Then as I was leaving here he was sitting in his car waiting for me and then when he sees me get into my car comes over for a chat. I told him to piss off and started to drive home, only to find him following me, so instead I turned onto Southern Cross drive and drove to the police station instead where I reported him. The silly bugger followed me all the way too, but cleared off when I stopped out front.

And maybe not road rage of that nature the other day in Belconnen took off from lights on Cameron Ave heading onto Chan Street. 4WD was in right hand lane took off slower than me but then accelerated harder and past me towards the merge on the other side of Benjamin Way. I backed off to let him go first but he veered across the centre line almost hitting me, so gave a toot to say I am here, only to be met with a brake check and the bird after the merge. Seriously WFT?

Was the 4WD black? I tend to find aggressive creeps mostly drive black ones.

It was actually. And then when he got to Lathlain Street he turned left then more or less straight away did a u turn to park outside of Goodberries (or what ever the place is called these days).

12
bigred 6:19 am
27 Jun 17
#

Must say I haven’t really experienced anything serious for a while, but I suspect there will be a day very soon that a tailgater in the Cotter Road road works zone experiences some wrath. It is amazing that they feel it is Ok to drive close and in a threatening way just because the driver of the car in front respects the road workers’ right to a safe work place.

13
JC 10:15 am
27 Jun 17
#

bigred said :

Must say I haven’t really experienced anything serious for a while, but I suspect there will be a day very soon that a tailgater in the Cotter Road road works zone experiences some wrath. It is amazing that they feel it is Ok to drive close and in a threatening way just because the driver of the car in front respects the road workers’ right to a safe work place.

Same issue on Horse Park Drive too near Moncreif. The 24×7 40km/h limit is probably the silliest roadworks speed zone I’ve seen anywhere, ever but at end of the day it is the posted speed limit. The number of people (old young male/female) that get agitated because I make an effort to go 40 really gives me the irrits.

14
dungfungus 10:19 am
27 Jun 17
#

I have found that encounters with road-ragers are best handled by blowing them a big kiss rather than giving them the bird.

15
Spiral 1:28 pm
27 Jun 17
#

The Cotter roadwork area has a lovely temporary speed camera that tells you how fast you aregoing and either approves or disapproves.

Last week I saw a driving school car without a student speed through there (iirc about 70 in the 40 zone).

The next day I saw the same vehicle indicate left before reaching a round-about in Coombs that it went straight through, and it continued indicating left until it had exited the round-about.

That is one driving school I will cross off my list.

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