Earlier today the Arrive Alive road safety website received the following report of a road rage incident:
“My mail to them regarding the incident read as follows:
I wish to report a road rage \ reckless driving incident on the afternoon of 26 June 2011, around 3.45pm, on the M4 highway travelling southwards towards Durban, where the road narrows from two lanes to one lane up the hill from the La Mercy lagoon and before the Umdloti turnoff. The perpetrator was a white gentleman of late middle-age, driving a Gold Hyundai Tucson, registration number ND 6488, and the facts are as follows:
– I live in Ballito, and was driving with my family to St Martins’ Church in Durban-North, as my Son’s God-Mother was to be ordained as an Anglican Minister by Bishop Rubin at the Sunday evening service.
– I was travelling in the right hand passing lane up the hill on the M4 southbound just after the La Mercy Lagoon bridge, with cars in front of me and behind me in both lanes.
– I and the other vehicles in the right hand lane were in the process of passing a row of slower moving vehicles in the left hand lane.
– Towards the top of the hill, where the road narrows from two lanes to one lane, the vehicle in front of me passed the Gold Hyundai Tucson in question and moved back across to the left, and I then proceeded to do the same.
– There was plenty of room for me to pass and then safely move to the left again as the road narrowed, as I was travelling faster than the Tucson in the slow lane. I know the road well as I drive that way to work every day and was quite comfortable that I was passing safely.
– I was past the Tucson and ready to move back across to the left when my wife shouted a warning to me from the passenger seat, as the Tucson had suddenly accelerated to abreast of me and was attempting to prevent me from moving across.
– This was reckless and a conscious manoeuver on his part, as he must have accelerated hard in an effort to draw level with me again as the road narrowed, in order to prevent me from passing him and moving back into the slow lane.
– He then proceeded to drive abreast of me for some distance, forcing me into the oncoming traffic, as I had now run out of lane.
– I then braked to get in behind him before the oncoming traffic got to us, in order to prevent a head-on collision.
– As I got in behind him, he then braked violently, almost to a stop, forcing me to take evasive action so as not to rear-end him. This was patently reckless, especially given that the road was busy in both directions.
– Luckily the vehicle that was behind him coming up the hill has seen what was happening and had slowed to create some space, otherwise my braking hard to avoid a collision with the Tucson could have resulted in a multi-vehicle pile-up.
– By this stage my wife, and my two young children (Aged 5 and 8) in the back seat of my car were very traumatised.
– I indicated to the driver of the Tucson in his rearview mirror to pull over onto the Umdloti offramp, as I wanted to ask him to accompany me to the Umdloti vehicle testing station so that I could report the incident, but he refused to do so.
– I then followed him into Durban North (with him talking on his cell-phone), where he pulled into the driveway of 3 St Andrews Drive. Whether or not this is his residence I cannot say, however, as he had two female passengers in his vehicle, and may just have been dropping one off.
– I was again prevented from speaking with him and asking him to accompany me to the Durban-North police station, as there was another white male standing at his driveway entrance, armed with a serious looking knob-kierie (which probably explains the earlier cell-phone call). I thus thought it best to rather drive on, than to risk being assaulted, and to report the incident directly to the authorities.
I am not sure what the process is in cases like this, but I would appreciate it if someone can speak to the driver in question, and educate him regarding safe and defensive driving, and the dangers of the type of aggressive behaviour that he displayed. Whether he just had a rush of testosterone to his head and thought “I’m not going to let this guy get past me” and then took it too far, or whether he had been to lunch up the coast and had a couple of glasses of wine too many, I can’t say, but it was a frightening experience for me that came totally out of the blue. Luckily in this instance there were no disastrous consequences, but if he is allowed to continue driving in such a reckless and aggressive manner another road user may not be so lucky next time.
[This email has been shared with the National Traffic Call Centre and Enforcement at the RTMC]