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Road rage one of SA’s biggest killers

Road rage is one of the leading causes of death in South Africa, and has been cited as one of the leading causes of homicide in the crime statistics released Friday.

During the presentation of the third quarter figures for 2021-2022 revealed arguments and misunderstandings regarding: away anger and/or provocation accounted for 1,151 murders.

There were also 1,215 cases of attempted murder, including traffic incidents, along with 21,188 cases of grievous bodily harm during the three months.

Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Station (JMPD) spokesman Wayne Minnaar said when a motorist committed a traffic violation, such as skipping a red light, cutting off another motorist, overtaking when it was not safe, ignoring a stop sign, or reckless or negligent drivingit caused other motorists to react aggressively.

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“Some road rage can get very aggressive and it ends in assault or, in the worst case scenario, murder,” Minnaar said.

Automotive Association (AA) spokesman Layton Beard said road rage was always an issue.

“It affects road safety and we always tell people that road rage is something that happens in your vehicle, but rather a combination of things.”

Beard said that if a person had a bad night’s sleep, woke up, argued with someone in the household, spilled coffee on themselves, all before getting into the car, the person could go into a state of excitement.

“If someone then cuts you off or doesn’t stop at the robot, they immediately fly into the road in anger,” he said.

Beard said people needed to understand that everyone made mistakes in traffic.

“We have to give each other free rein, especially for small mistakes. There is no perfect driver in the world,” he said.

Beard said to ask yourself if the incident was worth raving about and getting out of your vehicle and hurting or killing another person, “10 out of 10 it’s not worth it”.

He said people don’t think about the consequences of their… away fury.

READ MORE: Is road design or driving behavior responsible for road deaths in SA?

Champion Sport Psychology director Lloyd Bemelman said road rage was more common in men because of testosterone.

“But everyone has a lack of tolerance towards people and the situation, and [may get] out of their car,” he said. Bemelman said people need to get their emotions under control.

“The definition of anger is a loss of control. Everyone is cut off from the road, but not everyone gets out of their car and argues.”

He said people get upset when others ignore the traffic rules.

“Aggression is learned behavior. When you hang out with those who support fighting, you’re 10 times more likely to fight.”

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