In May, we were approached by the production team at BBC Morning Live. They were interested in learning more about our road rage course with the view to making a short feature to be shown on their show. Our road rage course is designed specifically to help motorists understand what causes road rage and how to better manage their emotions and actions when driving. Once a driver is angry, it can, for some, take huge self-control to stop acting in an aggressive (and sometimes extremely dangerous) way. Many taking this course have either caused a road rage incident or incidents or have been a victim.
Through improved driver awareness, anticipation and understanding of what other drivers are doing, all of which are essential skills of advanced driving, a driver can greatly reduce being caught up in road rage encounters.
A lot of the time, road rage starts when you get caught up in another driver’s bad driving.
After a detailed chat about what we offer and what BBC Morning Live were looking for, on Wednesday, 5th July, we went to BBC Media City in Manchester, where our tutor, Ray Coates, who does many of our advanced driving courses and also our road rage courses in the North West, met up with the film crew and also their well-known TV presenter, Gethin Jones who was to see what our course was all about.
The filming had two parts; the first was at the University of Manchester in the morning, where they interviewed a professor around the psychology of road rage. In the afternoon and after a few delays, filming with us started.
Ray explained what our course was all about, and Gethin demonstrated a real interest in wanting to become a safer driver and to discuss road rage in more detail. It’s clear he has a real passion (and not just on the camera!) that he takes road safety and looking at reducing road rage very seriously.
As we were filming a feature, the course, as to be expected, was not typical insomuch as there were lots of times we had to refilm specific “scenes”, lots of stops and starts, adjusting cameras etc. We expected this, but surprisingly Ray still managed to get many of the important key points across to Gethin, which made for a great learning environment.
A lot of the driving was based around the busy roads in and around Manchester. Gethin drove a Nissan Juke. We were not sure if this was his car or a BBC pool car, but he was confident and familiar with the car from the start.
Here are a few extracts from Gethin’s report:
“During my discussion with Gethin, he related a recent experience where someone cut him up after overtaking him. Gethin related his experiences of witnessing people driving without due care and attention. He also said that whilst he didn’t like to judge, he really cared about the impact of road rage. Gethin recognised that, whilst it wasn’t a justification for deeply inconsiderate driving, ‘human factors’ were a contributing factor to road rage and could be controlled.“
“We discussed the power of personal choice in choosing not to allow ourselves to descend into road rage.“
“From the outset, even when faced by being cut up within a few hundred yards into the drive, Gethin remained calm and demonstrated a caring attitude towards being safe.“
“He maintained effective mirror usage, early information gathering, disciplined road positioning and safe space management, including tyres and tarmac. Gethin didn’t behave or display erratic lane positioning, even though there were several examples of others doing this.“
“He demonstrated great restraint and avoided ‘taking the law into his own hands’.“
“As the drive developed, we discussed the benefit of ‘practising the pause’ and taking our own responsibility for our actions. Gethin really connected with the thought that getting angry about the actions of others could potentially have zero effect on them but could impact our lives and the lives of those we care for. When he was attempting to exit a carriageway, and nobody was letting Gethin in, he managed his speed and space in a very self-controlled way. He didn’t ‘muscle his way’ in but displayed strength of patience and a courteous attitude. Gethin asked on one occasion: ‘What about if someone has had an argument and then leaves the house angry’? We had an open and frank discussion about this and reasoned on the fact that an argument can be repaired, whereas the extreme impact of life-changing or life-ending outcomes cannot.“
“From start to end, Gethin identified that ultimately, we cannot change the actions of others whilst driving; however, by taking control of ourselves and also recognising factors outside of driving that affect us, we can maintain the power of our own personal responsibility. Gethin is an excellent driver and clearly showed a genuine interest in the session today.“
It was a pleasure to work with the BBC as it provided excellent coverage for our business and has helped promote the fact that there are things people can do to lower the chances of getting caught up in road rage. Here are a few pointers if you struggle with road rage:
1. Many drivers don’t intend to annoy you. A slow driver may have a health issue, poor eyesight – which often makes night driving very hard, unfamiliar with the car, is lost, has no idea their full beam is on, has no idea you want to overtake, is nervous of driving etc…
2. An aggressive boy racer – let them pass. The Police will eventually catch up with them if they continue to drive like that.
3. Don’t take it personally – one road rage (aggressor) client we had gave a very good insight as to why they always try and overtake other cars (and often trigger road rage):
“I don’t have any personal issues with the drivers I am trying to overtake. I just see the vehicles as moving obstacles I need to get past quickly. I don’t actually give the driver any thought.”
4. If you feel anger building up, acknowledge it but don’t react. If you need to react, make a promise to yourself that you will react – but do it later on in the day – pick a time to do this. By then, in all probability, the anger will have long gone! This is not easy, but arming yourself with this technique can actually help defuse anger as it happens.
The road rage feature was featured on BBC Morning Live on Friday, 14th July 2023.
Learn more about our road rage courses here.