A new survey by the NRMA has found that a significant majority of motorists have encountered ‘road rage’ in the past year.
Surveying 1300 motorists in NSW and the ACT, the study also found that 22 percent of incidents occurred in the presence of children under the age of 15.
“Aside from the obvious distress this could cause them, when the perpetrator is behind the wheel of the car they are in it also sets a terrible example,” NRMA president Kyle Loades said.
The survey found that the majority of road ragers took to extended bouts on the horn, while nearly half turned to aggressive hand gestures and verbal abuse.
He added that more than 75 percent of the survey’s respondents did not know that penalties can apply to motorists that lash out on the road, including charges of ‘menacing driving’.
The results also showed that, at the other end of road rage, 80 percent of those confronted were left unsettled after the incident.
More than 40 percent said they’d lost “some degree of confidence” behind the wheel, while 12 percent reported trouble sleeping.
Just over one percent of respondents said an encounter with road rage made them more aggressive towards other motorists.
This follows the launch in April of a new safety campaign by Victoria’s Traffic Accident Commission that reminds parents of the example they set when engaging in road rage in front of their children.
The TAC says young drivers are four times more likely to be killed in their first year of driving, and that parental examples witnessed by 5-12 year-olds could set the pattern for later in life.
While 18-25 year-olds make up 14 percent of all Victorian licence-holders, they account for 28 percent of road fatalities.
Another study, by the Queensland University of Technology's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland, found that many parents are setting a bad example for their children by using their mobile phone while driving.
The research found that young drivers see parents "as hypocrites" when it comes to mobile phone use, and were less likely to take the anti-phone road safety message seriously.
The study has shown drivers between 17-25 years are twice as likely to make a call and four times as likely to send a text compared with drivers over 50.