When we think of road rage, the typical over-the-top graphics portrayed in the media come to mind: deliberately colliding into the car in front that was driving a tad too slow, the most colourful language yelled at the loudest possible volume, rude gestures, ridiculous speeding, you name it.

While there is evidence that factors such as age, gender, perceptions and personality form the likelihood of a driver being aggressive, the reality of everyday road rage in Australia is rather vague. Budget Direct conducted a survey to bring clarity to this issue, constructing a questionnaire for 1032 Australians who represent the nation. This sample consisted of Australians 18 years and older, are licensed drivers and drive often. The results of this survey later on informed the ‘Travel Time. Your Time.’ Aggressive Driving campaign, a collaborative effort between NRSPP, MUARC and Budget Direct.

Overall findings of the survey stated that drivers are most often angered by actions from other road users that they perceive as rude, discourteous, irritating or simply unsafe. A range of intensity regarding their reactions was recorded, varying from ignoring the frustrating road user, to getting out of their vehicle to physically fight them.

Apart from other road users, traffic congestion and travel delays were also a relatively significant cause of driver anger. 97% of motorists will experience heavy traffic at some point, and 30% (4.9 million) will encounter this frequently. This highlights that many drivers will undergo the stress of traffic delays and congestion in one way or another, leading to possible occurrences of road rage.

A few key findings from Budget Direct’s survey are:

• 93% drivers are angered by potentially dangerous behaviour from other road users

• 93% are also angered by discourtesy from other road users

• In the past 12 months, 65% Australian drivers have been at the receiving end of road rage expressions

• Male drivers are more likely than female drivers to be on the delivering and receiving end of road rage

It is interesting to note that majority of Australian drivers (82%) do not perceive themselves to be aggressive at all when driving. However, four in ten (45%) admitted to shouting, cursing, or making rude gestures at another road user in the last 12 months. This suggests there is a disconnection between drivers’ perceptions of themselves and their true behaviour. Other road users are usually seen to be the problem.

For the full results of this survey, visit Budget Direct: Aggressive driving and road rage: Australian survey 2020

Also be sure to check out Budget Direct’s program for National Road Safety Week