50% of Kiwis have experienced road rage this year, according to nationwide survey by State
The ongoing strain of living with COVID-19 could be starting to show up on our roads, with 50% of New Zealanders having experienced some form of road rage in the past 12 months – according to a national survey by State Insurance and Ipsos .
Forty-one per cent said the road rage incident included swearing, yelling and/or rude gestures, while more than a quarter (27%) said it involved aggressive or intimidating driving directed at them.
Six per cent said the road rage incident involved threats of violence, while 4% claimed it led to their vehicle being damaged. One percent of respondents said the incident resulted in someone getting physically hurt.
Almost one in four (23%) of all respondents admitted to inflicting some form of road rage onto another driver during the 12-month period. Of those who have experienced or inflicted road rage during the period, 38% believe road rage has worsened over the past 12 months.
According to the survey, failure to follow road rules triggered the majority (81%) of road rage incidents, with failing to give way a main cause.
State’s Executive General Manager Claims, Dean MacGregor, says all kiwis have an important role to play in creating safe and enjoyable environment on our roads this summer.
“When it comes to road rage, we know that starting or escalating conflict never helps the situation – regardless of who is in the wrong. This is especially relevant if responding aggressively leads to someone getting hurt, or someone’s property getting damaged.
“In light of these survey results, we hope all drivers will take a moment to exercise patience and restraint when interacting with others – especially now as the busy shopping and holiday travel season gets underway.”
State’s survey also found that almost three quarters (71%) of recipients think finding an available carpark in a busy shopping centre is a stressful activity, with 55% agreeing that travelling long distances can test their resilience.
As the holidays season approaches and Auckland’s borders prepare to open, State’s safety advice for drivers is well-timed.
Mr MacGregor adds, “When we’re feeling busy and worn down our concentration can easily wane. This, combined with the fact many of us have spent less time behind the wheel this year, could be contributing to more fraught conditions as we take to the roads this summer.
“Ultimately, every one of us has an important role to play in ensuring a safe and happy experience on our roads. So, if tension arises, de-escalate it as best you can with a smile, wave, or nod, and move on as quickly and as safely as you can. Your chief responsibility – at all times - is to keep yourself and your passengers safe,” said Dean.
State and Ipsos Road Rage survey results, November 2021:
State’s top tips to avoid road rage this holiday season:
1. Give yourself more time
Feeling stressed or rushed can lead to mistakes on the road and can inflame conflict with other drivers. Allow extra time for your various trips and try and avoid travelling when traffic is at its peak.
2. Drive safely and avoid tailgating and cutting into traffic
If you are patient and use your indicators, a courteous driver will clear the way for you faster than you think. Tailgating only puts yourself and others in danger – always remember the two second rule.
3. Keep your cool and show restraint
If something happens, avoid using the horn excessively or making rude gestures at others. Instead, take deep breaths which will help relieve tension. If another driver is in the wrong or acting aggressively – ignore them. Your chief responsibility is to keep yourself and your passengers safe. If your passengers are too loud and are preventing you from focusing on the road, pull over and take time to restore order.
4. Ignore bad drivers and resist the urge to get even
If someone else’s driving doesn’t meet your standards, just move away to allow space between yourself and the other driver. Don’t ever add fuel to the fire or try to get even with someone else. Remember your responsibility is to keep yourself and your passengers safe.
5. Use friendly hand gestures, say “Thanks” and “Sorry”
Civility and good manners encourage other drivers to do the same. Acknowledge your mistakes and apologise through eye contact or a quick friendly gesture. This can defuse a hot situation and avoid a direct confrontation.
6. Protect yourself
If you feel seriously threatened by another driver, stop your car, lock the doors and call 1-1-1.
 Ipsos research commissioned by State Insurance, November 2021. Nationally representative survey of New Zealanders, total base size of n=1,003, and a margin of error of ±3.09.