You’ve had a bad day at the office. Maybe something terrible happened today, or a deadline you’re having trouble keeping. You’re on the road, some negative thoughts running through your head, when suddenly, some reckless driver honks incessantly, agitating you. You want to give this person a piece of your mind, and not in a good way.
A steering lock to their window? A roadside brawl? Maybe that will teach them. Anything to release the anger bottled up. These kinds of feelings will almost certainly pop up when experiencing road rage. When someone is feeling angry or frustrated, they can be irrational, and do things they wouldn’t normally do. This leads to reckless behavior, and potentially car damage.
Why you shouldn’t give in to road rage
You’re angry. Maybe the guy behind you is honking at you nonstop for being a bit slow at the traffic light. You might want to give the other person a piece of your mind, preferably through violent means. Don’t. Sure, it feels good in the heat of the moment, but blind anger only brings about regret, and no one wins in the end because of road rage. There’s the physical and mental scarring from road rage incidents, and then there’s the law.
Unsurprisingly, the law doesn’t take too kindly to road rage incidents. Offenders can be charged based on Section 42 of the Road Transport Act, in which they can be jailed up to 2 years and fined up to RM15,000. Repeat offenders get their sentences upped to a maximum of 10 years jail time and RM20,000 fine. If you were convicted of reckless driving, your driving license will also be revoked and you can’t apply for a new one for at least 2 years. 10 if you are a repeat offender. Instant gratification over a temporary annoyance, or long term damage and difficulties in moving around? You decide.
Common Signs of Road Rage
Now that you’ve learned why you shouldn’t drive recklessly and commit road rage, it’s also important to determine its more common signs so you know how to avoid them. Among them are:
- Sudden Braking
- Tailgating, or not giving other drivers enough space
- Impatient driving
- Shouting and gesturing
- Non stop honking or flashing of headlights
If you see the following signs on a nearby driver, stay as far away from them as possible. Also, if you notice that you’re doing any of these things, stop by the road side and calm yourself before continuing your journey.
Do’s and Don’ts
No one wins in a road rage scenario, so here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to dealing with, and avoiding road rage scenarios.
When avoiding or dealing with road rage, DO:
- DO Stay calm
If you do find yourself getting angry on the road, take a deep breath, and try to stay calm. Stop on the side of the road if you have to. The potential health and mental damage isn’t worth it.
- DO Keep reasonable expectations
No two people drive alike, and no one especially drives like you. No matter who you are, there will always be reckless driving on the road. Don’t think everyone will drive the same way you do, and keep up some reasonable expectations for other drivers on the road. That way, road rage tendencies can be reduced.
- DO Practice polite driving
Being polite goes a long way. Simple gestures such as raising your hand when a driver gives way when merging is one of many gestures that help avoid road rage. Also, avoid driving practices that will make other drivers uncomfortable such as tailgating.
- DO Protect yourself
You’ve done all you can, but sometimes, some people will be too angry to think rationally at that time. Even when you try to avoid them, they will still follow you wherever you go. If you do find yourself in such a situation, don’t go home immediately. Instead, go somewhere public, or better yet, somewhere near police stations. This is to avoid any confrontations that may arise. Your safety is the highest priority in such situations. Don’t get out of your vehicle until you can be certain that it is perfectly safe to do so.
- DO Plan ahead
Being stuck on the road for long periods of time can stress people out, making them more prone to be angry and reckless drivers. This is especially true when you get stuck in traffic. If you have no more obligations after work, it’s always better to plan your trips in advance so that you lessen your time on the road. Leaving early for work is also a good idea so that you don’t need to beat the morning rush hour.
If you get into or trying to defuse a road rage scenario, DON’T:
- DON’T Take things personally
You don’t know what the other driver is thinking. If you’re always in the mindset that everyone is out to get you, then you will always be angry. Maybe the other person is having a bad day of their own, and is driving recklessly as a result. The best you can do is to stay calm, stay away from the reckless driver, and drive as safely as possible.
- DON’T Confront reckless drivers
Confrontation is a sure fire way to get into a road rage situation. If you come across a reckless driver, do your best to ignore and avoid them as much as possible. Again, the potential damage isn’t worth your time and effort.
- DON’T Provoke other drivers
It’s easy to be angry at others when you’re having a bad day. It’s even easier to offend an already angry driver. Provoking others just to vent is never a good idea. Also, keep away from angry drivers to avoid potential road rage issues, especially if you were the one that made them angry to begin with, whether that was intentional or not.
- DON’T Hesitate to contact the authorities
An angry driver is not only a threat to themselves, but to others on the road as well. If you see an angry driver doing dangerous and reckless actions on the road, do not hesitate to get the authorities involved in the matter, especially when they are a menace to those around them.
- DON’T Honk incessantly
The horn is a powerful tool in the hands of a driver. Used correctly, it can help warn other drivers of the dangers around them, making the road a better place. Oftentimes, it gets misused by irresponsible drivers to honk at anything that annoys them. This not only aggravates other drivers, but can also escalate into a road rage scenario. Therefore, it is important that drivers honk responsibly and not out of pure anger or annoyance
At the end of the day, avoiding and handling road rage is about mental fortitude. Keeping calm during stressful periods on the road and practicing safe driving is almost guaranteed to keep you safe on the road.
Safety is the utmost importance when on the road!
However, even if you have tried your best to avoid road rage scenarios, you may unwillingly end up in one, and this can be a bad sign for you and your vehicle, especially if it isn’t insured. This then begs the question:
Can you claim insurance if you are involved in a road rage accident?
Suppose you are the accident victim because of a road rage, are you able to claim insurance from the incident? The answer to that is, yes, but with a catch. Claiming depends on whether the reckless driver breached any insurance policy conditions. If damages done to your vehicle was intentional, then the aggressor’s insurance will exclude their liability. In other words, you can’t claim from the aggressor’s insurance if they deliberately damage your vehicle in a road rage scenario, which unfortunately, is what is likely going to happen. That being said, you can still claim from your own insurance provider for damages incurred for your own vehicle. You can also go a step further by pursuing legal action against the reckless driver for negligence to seek compensation.
Other actions you can take
If you become the victim of a road rage incident, you must remain vigilant at all times. Gather as much evidence as possible during the accident. Take note of the driver’s car model, plate number, any other information you deem relevant. Proving an accident due to a road rage can be difficult, moreso if the perpetrator fled the scene of the crime. You want to present as much evidence as you can so you can submit a claim with your insurer. Therefore, something presentable like CCTV footage can be very handy to have in such scenarios. Investing in a dashcam is also a good idea in case you get into such situations as well.
With how unpredictable some of these scenarios can be, it’s always great to have some insurance to fall back on. Get the best quote now from PolicyStreet and make sure your vehicle is insured for unforeseen circumstances. For any further information, you can visit our website or contact us at +60 3-3310 0063.