Road rage motorists target novice drivers: RAA survey

2 December, 2021

Click here to download vision of an interview with Ben Haythorpe, RAA Senior Manager Community Engagement

Road rage is a major concern among teenagers with many novice drivers falling victim to on-road aggression, an RAA survey shows.

More than a quarter (26%) of students with a learner or provisional licence have been a victim of road rage, the RAA survey revealed.

The alarming results come as increasing numbers of leaner drivers spend time behind the wheel during the summer holidays.

RAA is calling on all road users to show each other courtesy, and be patient around novice drivers.

Most youngsters (82%) had already witnessed a road rage incident as a passenger, the survey of more than 2800 high school students who attended RAA’s annual road safety awareness event Street Smart High in October found.

While the vast majority of students had not only seen road rage – from gestures to verbal altercations and physical violence – the survey also shows almost half (45%) said their parent had instigated the aggression.

More than half of the students surveyed (51%) were also worried they would be the victim of road rage as a driver in the future.

RAA Senior Manager Community Education Ben Haythorpe said road rage endangered the safety of all road users.

“It’s very disappointing that an overwhelming majority of the students had already witnessed road rage as a passenger – many whose parents were the perpetrators,’’ Mr Haythorpe said.

“It’s also of great concern that so many novice drivers have already been victims of road rage, while others are fearful they will be targeted when they get their licence.

“Female students (63%) are significantly more worried than male students (36%) of being a target of road rage, the survey also showed.’’

Mr Haythorpe said it was frightening how disagreements among drivers could escalate so quickly into aggression.

“That is why it’s important we send a message that all road users need to be courteous and considerate to each other,’’ he said.

“Experienced motorists need to cut learner drivers some slack, show them patience and don’t express any frustrations. 

“It’s also important for novice drivers to not be aggressive or react to aggression, and these are the messages we are keen for them to share with their friends and parents.’’

RAA’s Street Smart High – the State’s largest annual youth road safety event – is held at the Entertainment Centre and is supported by the State Government.

The four-hour program includes a simulated crash scene, real life stories from people whose lives have been affected by road trauma, and a demonstration on the importance of ANCAP star ratings when choosing a car.

More than 50,000 year 10-12 students from over 80 schools across South Australia have attended Street Smart High since it began in 2009.