Road rage incidents disturbing symbol of a wider problem

THE story earlier this week of a Ballarat cyclist being “mowed down” by an aggressive driver has highlighted ever-increasing and disturbing act of road rage.

Mark Templeton suffered a broken collar bone and grazes to his knees, face and legs when he was left bleeding on the side of Ti Tree Road, Warrenheip, last Sunday. He was hit from behind by a car while participating in a group training ride to Bacchus Marsh.

Mr Templeton believes bad behaviour by a minority of cyclists and motorists was adding to tensions between these two groups on Ballarat roads.

But road rage in Ballarat and around Australia is not exclusive to cyclists and motorists.

As a society, are we in such a rush to get somewhere, that we forget not only our manners, but our commonsense and, of course the road rules? Is getting to our final destination a few minutes earlier really going to make that big a difference to our daily routine? Is risking someone’s life and the possibility of a criminal conviction really worth it?

All too often, the media publishes stories about severe road rage incidences where drivers have been bashed or threatened with weapons. What has the world come to, that driving to work or to the supermarket becomes a risky task?

While telling his story at the weekend, Mr Templeton made a plea for peace on our roads.

According to information from the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety (CARRS), aggressive drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes; they tend to be young men; have high frustration levels and low regard for others; and they tend to engage in unsafe driving practices like speeding and drink-driving.

CARRS defines road rage as “a term used to describe violence associated with motor vehicle use. It refers only to the most severe form of driving aggression (ie. assault/attempted assault). Though incidents of this type are severe, fortunately they are also uncommon. 

“Surveys of drivers consistently show that only between two and five per cent of drivers report being assaulted or attacked by another driver.”

That’s between two and five per cent too many. Maybe it’s time we slowed down – not only on the roads, but in our lives.

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