Note on Government response to petition: By reaching the 10,000 signatures milestone, the government were required to respond to our petition. The Government is committed to making the roads safer and has launched a consultation to draft new and revised sentencing guidelines, which takes into consideration offenders causing serious injury by dangerous and careless driving.
If you’re learning to drive, chances are you have experienced road rage or intimidation by another road user at least once. 81% of learners we surveyed recently told us they had been on the receiving end of tailgating, verbal abuse, hand gestures and being cut up – to name just a few. It can be pretty scary and is leading to learner drivers making more mistakes and becoming more nervous and anxious. For some, it has got so bad that they have had to take a break from driving or have given up learning to drive altogether!
To help, we’ve got some helpful tips to help you stay calm behind the wheel!
1. Breathe, relax, and look ahead
With your instructor by your side, you know where you are headed and what action you need to perform. Someone honking or flashing their lights behind you, or sitting up your rear, can be disconcerting and distracting. Taking a deep breath, focusing on the road ahead and listening to you instructor should help to get to where you need to be.
2. Try your best to ignore them
It may be easier said than done – but like with many forms of bulling – it’s the best course of action. Reacting won’t help the situation and will distract you from your actual priority – honing your skills and driving safely. It’s important to remember that their reaction isn’t personal - it is likely that they are frustrated about running late, or simply have very little patience. In reality, a couple of minutes waiting for you to pull out at roundabout or to recover from stalling will hardly impact their journey time. Ignore them, as they (and the stressful situation) will soon pass!
3. Listen to your instructor
Your instructor has probably lost count of the number of times they have encountered other road users behaving in an aggressive or intimidating manner. Follow their instructions and listen to what they have to say – as they will be experienced in handling the situation. Focusing on their voice should also help you feel calmer and help you concentrate on the task in hand. It’s safe to say, that many road users have forgotten that they were once a learner driver!
4. Pull over if you need to
If a driver is behaving particularly erratically or the situation has made you feel overwhelmed or upset, pulling over when it is safe to do so, may be the best thing to do. It will allow time for the aggressive driver to pass and allow you time to compose yourself and calm down. Your instructor will probably use the time to provide re-assurance and tips on dealing with similar situations if they happen again.
5. Sign the petition to help put a stop to on-road abuse!
Ok, so you should wait until you are out of the car to do this. Instructors and learners alike are experiencing aggression and intimidation from other drivers all too often – and it’s putting learners and other road users at risk – as this on-road abuse leads to 72% learners making more mistakes and 68% have become more nervous drivers! You can help us put a stop to this by signing the petition to Stop L-plate Abuse and by sharing it with your friends and family!