A staggering 34% percent of driving instructors admit to witnessing road rage towards learner drivers on a daily basis, with 14% claiming it happens on almost every driving lesson.
Driving instructors have reported that they have had to deal with inpatient drivers who tailgate learners on their driving lessons, beep their horn and sign offensive hand gestures and verbal abuse to the learner.
1 in 7 learner drivers admits to being the victim of tailgating or being aggressively overtaken by other road users.
Reports have also been made of learner drivers having eggs, stones and fireworks thrown at the tuition vehicle
Keeping Learner Drivers Safe on The Road
In 2018 The Department for Transport Added measures to combat road rage, encourage more mutual respect between road users and protect the vulnerable released in 2 year action plan to improve road safety.
As part of the action plan, a bespoke new unit was set up so that police can analyse video evidence submitted by the public and will allow police to handle video and photo evidence submitted via dash cams.
Having a dash cam installed is a huge benefit and most of our driving school cars are equipped with a front and rear facing dash cams. Displaying a CCTV sticker on the exterior of the car usually acts a good deterrent. However, despite this, our driving instructors in Blackpool still occasionally receive abuse from other motorists.
The government has attempted to crack down on road rage and aggressive driving by changing the way certain motoring penalties work.
Police officers can now issue a £100 fine and give 3 points for:
- Overtaking and pushing into a queue of traffic
- Pushing into a roundabout queue
- Failing to give way
- Lane hogging
Learner Drivers are Vulnerable
For many learner drivers it takes a huge amount of courage to get in a car and drive it, for some driving is their biggest fear. They put a massive amount of trust in their driving instructor who is there to help build the learner’s confidence and teach them safe driving. It’s a shame that some motorists can completely destroy a learner driver confidence within a matter of seconds.
We spoke to John, a driving instructor who works for Golden Mile Driving School, Blackpool. John told us about an incident that occurred on a driving lesson which completely shattered his pupils confidence and brought her to tears.
John says: ” I was teaching a very anxious pupil who was afraid of driving as she was involved in a car crash when she was younger. The first few driving lessons she was very anxious and got extremely scared whenever another vehicle was near her. I first took her to a quiet location and practiced the basics. It took around six lessons before she felt confident to go on a busy road. Once I took her on a busy road, I could see her confidence starting to build, she felt great and it was lovely to see her confidence growing.
About 45min into the lesson she stalled at a junction, a van was behind us and began beeping his horn and revving his engine. I could see that my learner felt uneasy, so I reassured her and told her not to panic. The van driver became more aggressive, his attitude served no purpose as his bad temper was just making matters worse, the more his beeped his horn the more my learner became anxious resulting in more stalls of the car.
The van driver decided to exit his van and walk towards my car, he went straight up to the window next to my leaner and shouted “F*CKING HURRY UP, YOU IDIOT” it was at this point I saw every last bit of confidence she had gained just disappear. I took control of the car and drove my learner to a safe place and discussed what just happened. After a long chat she decided not to do anymore driving and asked that I drive her home. To this date she hasn’t had another driving lesson and refuses to get back behind the wheel.
It’s such a shame that one man’s bad attitude and impatience has caused another person to never want to drive again!
Tips For Dealing with Road Rage
We have gathered a few tips and advice from our driving instructors, Should you ever find yourself being a victim of road rage. This advice is not just for learner drivers but full licence holders too.
- DO NOT RISE TO IT! Try not to rise to it and respond in a negative or aggressive manner. If necessary, pull over where and when it’s safe to do so, take deep breaths and then once you’re feeling calm continue your journey
- DO NOT BREAK THE LAW! If an aggressive driver is tailgating you, don’t sacrifice your own safety on the road by allowing yourself to be intimidated or break the speed limit. Try and make it safe for the tailgater to pass you, for example pull over when it’s safe to do so.
- TRY AND KEEP CALM! – Stay in control of your vehicle. do not respond by swerving or braking suddenly (unless it’s necessary to avoid an accident) as this could put you and other drivers in danger, and encourage the other driver to act more aggressively.
- ASK FOR HELP! – If you’re being persistently harassed by the same aggressive driver, you may want to make your way to a safe, public place and call the Police.
- BE SAFE! – If stopped, Do not leave your vehicle if the aggressive driver approaches your car. Lock all doors and call the Police.
Remember! After the incident when you’ve calmed down and you decide to drive. Focus on the road – it sounds obvious, but try not to go over the stressful incident in your head, just try to concentrate on the road and your safe driving.