Editorial: Don’t let your road rage get the better of you

Road safety largely comes down to trusting the drivers around us.

Alone on a dark road. Suddenly there’s a car behind you and they are driving erratically, maybe shining their lights deliberately in your eyes, speeding up and then slowing down, or tailgating closely. This is a rural road and there are no houses visible, just a few scattered long driveways and lots of trees and bush on either side. You check, but there’s no cell phone service.

It sounds like something out of a horror movie, but it’s a scenario that’s quite possible in many places in the Cowichan Valley.

While the details are slightly different, this very thing happened to a woman recently on Cowichan Lake Road. It was the middle of the day, rather than at night, but the stalkerish behaviour of the group in the threatening car was even worse, and they were clearly up to no good, eventually pulling sideways to completely block the road. Some quick thinking and some luck are the only things that had the situation resolved with everyone safe and sound.

A road rage incident recently on Herd Road saw a Cowichan senior suffer blows to the head after a man punched in his side window to get to him.

Sadly, we’ve come to a point where road safety demands that we do everything we can not to stop if it looks like another driver has an issue with us. Who knows how badly the Cowichan Lake Road incident would have gone if the driver had been forced to stop?

Road safety largely comes down to trusting the drivers around us. We have to at least be able to trust that they are not going to deliberately hit us or run us off the road. Defensive driving can only do so much for us. When we get onto the road, we form an unspoken pact with those around us that we will follow the basic rules to keep all of us alive and well.

So for those who find themselves becoming impatient while driving, or find their temper flaring, before you decide to “bump” the car in front of you, give someone the finger, or yell at them from your open driver’s window — or worse — take some deep breaths. As soon as you take your hands off the wheel to give someone a one-finger salute, or direct all of your attention out your window at the person you’re screaming at, you have become a distracted driver yourself, taking your attention off the bigger picture of what’s happening around you on the road. The consequences of your fit of rage are not worth it. So someone cut you off or was driving too slowly for your taste. In the grand scheme of things, these are minor inconveniences at worst.

Don’t be foolish.

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