December 20, 2021

We’ve all had a moment of frustration while driving, especially when you have to stay on the roads all the time as a private hire driver. But you’re not alone, and we’re here to help you!

Believe it or not, road rage is actually more common than you think, with almost half of UK drivers having been the victims of road rage. While we’ve seen road rage on the rise, and we know how dangerous it is; the Otto Team has put together a safety guide about the causes and effects of road rage, and more importantly, how to avoid it.

What is road rage?

Road rage is defined as ‘sudden violent anger provoked in a motorist by the actions of another driver’ by the Oxford dictionary. It is a serious and dangerous behaviour, from rude gestures to aggressive driving, that drivers engage in for a wide range of reasons.

What causes road rage?

As a daily driver you might already have some basic idea about where impatience, anger and anxiety come from. You are likely to get stressed and irritated by these ‘unexpected surprises’ while driving to make money:

  • Long delays caused by roadworks and traffic jams
  • Tailgating and flashing headlights
  • Yelling or honking
  • Distracted driving, like mobile phone use
  • Not letting you merge
  • Changing lanes without signaling
  • Driving too slow or too fast
  • Constantly driving in the middle lane

These seemingly minor driving mistakes or behaviours can potentially lead to criminal behaviour and serious accidents.

Quick facts about road rage

  • 43% of UK drivers were victims of road rage. (RAC)
  • 20% of UK drivers experience road rage at least once a week. (BigChange)
  • 78% of drivers reported committing at least one aggressive driving behaviour in 2020. (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)
  • 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving. (NHTSA)
  • 12.5% of all casualties on England’s major routes were caused by tailgating drivers. (Highways England)
  • In 2018, more than 5,000 people were killed or injured in collisions where aggressive driving was a contributory factor over a three-year period. (Department for Transport)
  • 500% increase in reported cases of road rage over the last 10 years. (CNN)
  • Aggressive driving was a key concern for UK motorists, with 28% identifying it as their number one issue on the roads. (RAC)
  • Road rage crimes rose by 39% from 2017 to 2019. (UK Police Forces)

How to control road rage?

You have no control over bad drivers, but you can adjust your driving attitude and style to make sure you won’t be an aggressive driver, and to avoid being a victim of road rage. Here is what you can do to overcome road rage:

  • Plan ahead – We know it’s difficult to make plans as a private hire driver. Try to at least check the traffic in advance and make sure you’ve installed useful apps that PCO drivers need. If it’s going to be a busy day, adjust your expectations and be prepared to take longer journeys.
  • Keep calm – Drive reasonably and politely. Be understanding, and don’t take things personally. We are all human and we make mistakes. Take a deep breath and let things go. Getting angry isn’t going to make things any easier when you are stuck in traffic.
  • Get enough sleep – Don’t drive if you feel unwell. Stay hydrated and take breaks regularly. You can easily get stressed and frustrated if you don’t get enough sleep.
  • No competition – Remember that you are driving riders to their destinations but not racing on a race track. Speeding on motorways can pose threats to other road users.
  • Avoid distractions – You are less likely to drive safely if you are distracted. Do not use a mobile phone or eat at the wheel as driving is a physically and mentally demanding activity. You need total concentration to drive.
  • Install a dash cam – Having a dash cam can not only protect yourself from other aggressive drivers, but also help you become a better driver. Here at Otto Car, all Uber drivers on our Rent 2 Buy and Friendly Schemes will get their PCO cars with a pre-installed CCTV camera, which can protect drivers from passenger complaints and PCN disputes.
  • Avoid conflict – Avoid eye contact with an aggressive driver and any unnecessary gestures in anger. Ignore aggressive behaviour from other road users. Keep your doors locked and drive. Call the police if it gets serious.

Why is road rage dangerous?

Road rage is technically not an offense, and the term is not included in The Highway Code. However, as a PCO driver you should all be aware of the signs of road rage and understand why it can cause unsafe situations.

The signs of road rage include speeding, tailgating, flashing headlights, and sudden braking. These driving behaviours can lead to serious traffic accidents, causing casualties and even fatalities. For example, a Highways England report found 12.5% of all casualties on England’s major routes were caused by tailgating drivers. In addition to that, angry drivers may also attack other drivers and their vehicles, putting other drivers’ and riders’ safety at risk. What makes things worse is vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists can also be affected by such behaviour.

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