What to do if you're threatened with a road rage attack

Australia drivers are likely to experience aggression on the road. Source: Getty

The majority of us feel at least somewhat annoyed by another driver at sometime or other, and as our roads get busier, it’s easier and easier to become stressed and impatient. Most of us, however, don’t act on it, other than the mutter to ourselves when yet another person neglects to give a ‘thank you’ wave.

But a horrific road rage attack that’s left a Gold Coast man is fighting for his life raises the question: what should a driver do if they come under attack from another driver? 

The Queensland Police Service told Starts at 60 that if you ever feel threatened by the behaviour of another motorist, heading for the nearest police station if the wisest step to take. “Distance yourself from the vehicle and drive to the nearest police station,” a QPS spokesman said. “You can also stop at a place that you feel safe, such as a well-lit area or an area with other people and keep yours doors locked and windows closed.”

If you have a passenger in the car with you who’s able to make a call, you can contact Policelink on 131 444 to report aggressive driving behaviour or Triple Zero (000) if you feel the matter is life threatening.

Likewise, Shine Lawyers advises avoiding eye contact with the aggressor and says that under no circumstances should you drive home – potentially alerting the person to where you live. Instead, “drive to a mall, hospital, police station or any public place,” the legal experts say.

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Although it may be impossible to avoid enraging a fellow driver if they’re in the mood to be infuriated, the NRM has identified the habits most likely to induce road rage. They include failing to give a thank you’ wave, slamming on the brakes unnecessarily, tailgating, merging without indicating, failing to allow others to merge, driving well under the speed limit or failing to maintain a constant speed, and using the right hand lane when not overtaking.

It’s not clear what caused the incident that caused a Gold Coast tradie called Brock Prime to be violently attacked by a group of men at Yatala at the weekend. The 29-year-old remains in a critical condition at the Gold Coast University Hospital, with the Courier Mail reporting that he will be tested on Thursday to determine whether he has any chance of recovering from his brain injuries.

Three men have been charged over the attack, with the possibility of the charges being upgraded if Prime doesn’t survive his injuries. 

A 2016, survey by insurance company GIO found that one in 10 motorist believe it’s acceptable to carry a weapon to defend themselves against road rage and 14 per cent have have been either physically assaulted, forced off the road or suffered damage to their car in an attack on the roads.

Have you ever been on the end of a road rage attack? What would you do if a person behaved aggressively toward you on the roads?

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