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One in two South Africans experience road rage

Rage on our roads has maintained a similar level over the last year, according to a recent survey by Synovate. In 2005, road rage in South Africa was at a record high amongst the other members of the globe. Reports of aggressive or threatening driving behaviour have stabilised at 51% over the last two readings (August 2008 and April 2009). Even though this is lower than reported in 2005, this still means that one out of two drivers on South African roads are experiencing aggressive/threatening driving behaviour.
One in two South Africans experience road rage

The results of this wave represent the views of 2004 respondents interviewed telephonically in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg. Synovate has been conducting research into Road Rage since August 2005. Respondents are asked which types of road rage they have experienced as well as which types of road rage they have directed at other drivers.

Hooting and flashing, cussing and shouting, or beating and bashing?

The most common form of road rage experienced is aggressive/threatening driving behaviour or rude gestures and verbal insults (both reported to have been experienced by 51% of the driving population). Rude gestures and verbal insults have undergone a slight increase and the more dangerous form of road rage - physical assault or using a weapon - has fortunately dropped slightly.

Other road rage behaviours experienced include persistent headlight flashing (44% experiencing this) and constant hooting (39%). Nearly one of ten respondents have been a victim of another driver actually leaving their vehicle to demonstrate their anger.

As with all previous readings, Johannesburg witnesses the highest levels of road rage. The good news however is that Johannesburg has demonstrated a slight decrease in physical assault as a result of road rage - from 2.7% experiencing this behaviour to 1.8%. Respondents from Cape Town experience the least amount of road rage especially in terms of those that get out of their vehicle (4%). Durbanites maintain a low level of road rage, however drivers from Durban are most likely amongst the regions to settle differences on the road by using physical assault or a weapon.

Road rage experienced from other drivers

One in two South Africans experience road rage

When asked to admit the types of road rage most often directed to other drivers, a significantly lower amount of aggressive/threatening driving was reported - at a low 9% (compared to the 51% that has reportedly been experienced). A quarter of respondents will admit to rude gestures / verbal insults, hooting and flashing headlights. Looking at the regions, a result that stands out is that more Cape Town respondents than Johannesburg respondents now get out of their vehicles to demonstrate their frustration. Johannesburg's score in this regard has dropped from 2.5% to 1.8%. Males reported almost a three times higher likelihood than women to get out of their vehicles. Less than 1% of respondents across all regions state that they will use physical assault or a weapon on another driver.

Road rage directed at other drivers

One in two South Africans experience road rage

Slow and peaceful or fast and furious?

Despite a relatively large amount of road rage in South Africa, only 1 in 10 drivers admit to being fast and reckless drivers. 4 of 10 drivers describe themselves as slow and cautious. It would seem that the fast and reckless are more prone to experiencing road rage behaviour - 60% of this group report experiencing aggressive / threatening behaviour compared to 46% of the slow and cautious drivers. A slightly higher percentage of the slower drivers report persistent flashing headlights coming their way.

Similarly, the faster drivers are far more likely to direct this sort of behaviour - 14% admitting to aggressive / threatening driving compared to 9% of the slower drivers.

Is it a car thing?

Small cars are the wisest option for those looking to avoid road rage incidents - they are the least likely to be involved in any form of road rage. On the flip side, bakkies seem most prone to both directing and experiencing most forms of road rage. High performance and sports cars are most likely to experience rude gestures and verbal insults as well physical assault. Drivers of SUV's are the most likely candidates to direct these two forms of road rage.

One in two South Africans experience road rage

One in two South Africans experience road rage

28 Apr 2009 13:49


Does anybody think that it might just be as a result of the antics of our brilliant taxi drivers?-
We are all exposed, on a daily basis, to the taxi drivers for whom the rule of law apparently doesn't apply. Red lights are just to be ignored, no stopping signs are a waste of paint etc. So we all start to say, why can't we take the law into our own hands too. Until there is one law for all, the Road Rage phenominum will perpetuate. We also have a history of using cars as weapons in South Africa, so the 2 together don't make for a good outcome.
Posted on 28 Apr 2009 15:05