Road rage is more common than you think. With road users rushing to get to their destination during their busy day, patience and civility get thrown out of the window. Everyone on the road is now working against you and with such a mindset while driving, it’s only a matter of time before something bad happens.
And, yes, it is often funny, but that is only so when you watch it online. When it happens to you, whichever side you’re on, it is far less pleasant. Neither is very fun in reality and can cost you dearly if you let your emotions get the better of you.
However, there are some things that you should know to help you keep your cool and not suffer any consequences, legal or other. We’re here to give you some pointers about dealing with road rage in Singapore.
What Is Road Rage
Road rage has many different examples, ranging from a simple argument through the windows of your vehicles, to aggressive, threatening driving following a real or perceived incident that may include tailgating, honking, rude gestures and similar, to blocking someone, stopping traffic and engaging into a violent altercation with various levels of severity.
In some extreme cases, there are examples of road rage incidents ending in the death of at least one of the participants.
Road rage usually starts with either a difference in understanding of the traffic rules between the two drivers but it can also be the case of a misunderstanding or downright dangerous or reckless driving of at least one of the sides involved in the incident.
Is Road Rage An Offence In Singapore?
Yes and no.
You see, road rage as such is not regulated by law in Singapore. However, this does not mean all is allowed. For example, if you get into a fight, you may be charged with that offence. Simply saying ‘it was road rage’ you do not get off the hook.
The same goes for things like hitting other people’s vehicles in anger, or threatening someone, as well as blocking traffic and engaging in many kinds of disorderly conduct.
While the law says nothing about regulating road rage, actions that can stem from it are well regulated and well familiar. No, you cannot get charged with road rage but you can get charged with pretty much anything that you do under the influence of road rage.
What Are The Common Types Of Road Rage?
Road rage can range from a realistically benign shouting match behind closed windows to aggressive driving to actual physical harm to another person. However unpleasant, shouting and hand gestures are usually harmless. However, if they provoke further actions, things can get pretty serious.
We’ve probably all seen examples of cars stopping in front of another, blocking their way and the drivers exiting their vehicles. This is when things have already gone too far. In some cases, the sheer attitude or physical stature of one of the participants in the incident is enough to put a stop to the altercation.
However, rage has little to do with sense, so oftentimes we even see fights and/or damage to the vehicles. It is unsettling to see that some drivers actually have some kind of a weapon in their vehicles put there specifically for these situations.
Here is an example of a road rage incident in Russia that saw the two drivers with a baseball bat and an axe, respectively. Luckily, they gave up on the fight, probably because of the weapons, but have a look at the calmness of the taxi driver as he takes out the baseball bat. It is like an everyday occurrence for him, like putting petrol in his car.
In some extreme cases, we’ve seen serious damage and even deaths resulting from something that started like a wrong turn followed by a hand gesture.
Is it really worth it?
What You Should And Should Not Do
This part is a bit counterintuitive. I mean, if you’re on the raging side, control is probably lost already and common sense takes the back seat. However, some concepts may stick in the back of your head and pop up when need be to help you cool down before you go too far.
First of all, try to not fall for it in any way. Keep your cool and in many cases that will give the other driver a moment to think and an example to follow. Angry people often feel they have no other option, so showing them one may do both of you a lot of good.
Secondly, if you are still driving when an altercation starts, try and resolve it before you stop. This does not mean you should speed up and cut red lights and curves to run away – exactly the opposite – try to remove the cause of the issue, especially if your oversight is the trigger for the unwanted behaviour.
You can try and switch lanes to let the other driver pass, or you can make a gesture to acknowledge your oversight. In many cases, this will calm the other person down.
Do not race. I’ve already mentioned this but it is important to emphasize that breaking traffic laws in order to escape is a terrible idea that can result in a far worse incident.
Understand that the other person may well be out of control at that point. With this in mind, it should be clear why you should not add fuel to fire in these situations. While reasoning is often a good choice, in some cases it may actually result in more anger. I know it doesn’t make much sense, but if sense were the first thing in mind in these situations, road rage would not exist.
Keeping your cool and clearly showing you are not interested in a mindless argument or a fight is the best way to go.
Get the police involved. This is especially important if the other driver is following you in his car. Drive to the nearest police station or to any patrol car you see. Do not be tempted to avoid police if you are to blame for the initial issue that led to road rage. Resolving such an issue is more important than getting a ticket.
It’s easy to point the finger and get mad with someone for bad driving. Then again, we all have been guilty of such deeds during our time on the road. Wouldn’t you wish the other driver is gracious enough to let it go without behaving like a hooligan?
So the next time you feel an episode of road rage arising, take the high road and be the one to de-escalate the tension.