The Road Ahead : February March 2014
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 10 THE ROAD AHEAD FEB/MAR 2014 COMMUNITY | FEATURE WHILE ROAD RAGE is an extreme expression of discontent on our roads, a less extreme but more pervasive problem is something we've all been guilty of -- a lack of courtesy behind the wheel. Whether it's not knowing or following all the road rules, failing to share the road appropriately, or driving distracted, displaying a lack of courtesy on the roads is something that has a flow-on effect to other motorists. In the RACQ's latest What Drives You Crazy survey, released in July last year, eight of the top 10 driver peeves related to inconsiderate and discourteous practices, with tailgating topping the list. RACQ Group CEO Ian Gillespie said that as roads became more congested and vehicles a personal survival capsule, drivers had a tendency to feel divorced not only from other road users, but the consequences of their own driving errors or lack of courtesy. "Although some motorists may not intend to be discourteous, manoeuvres such as tailgating, improper lane changes or overtaking can delay, endanger or irritate other road users," Mr Gillespie said. The RACQ recently undertook qualitative research to better understand why Queensland drivers engage in anti-social driving behaviours. "What we found is that the reasons for discourteous driving varied and there was a clear differentiation between unintentional and deliberate discourtesy," Mr Gillespie said. "Not indicating and some cases of cutting people off are usually unintentional and tended to result from a lack of awareness of others or a lack of focus on driving. "A deliberate lack of courtesy often stemmed from impatience or general intolerance, with many using behaviours such as tailgating or not allowing another car to merge as a way of communicating to other drivers that they've transgressed a road rule or social convention. Or, in some cases, just to release anger. "This sense of justice on the road was a really interesting insight that emerged from the research. We found in cases where motorists were unsure of call for courtesy STORY BELINDA PETERS WITH ANTI-SOCIAL DRIVING ON THE INCREASE, IS IT TIME TO BRING BACK A BIT OF COURTESY ON OUR ROADS? a road rule, they deferred to concepts of manners and politeness and sometimes deemed perfectly legal behaviour as 'rude' and ended up driving in an anti-social manner to indicate their displeasure." Using this greater understanding of the motives behind anti-social driving, the RACQ is currently working on a soon-to-be-released road courtesy campaign to improve the driving culture in Queensland, promoting smooth traffic flow and a less stressed road environment.