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Durban - Last month, a man was shot and killed during an apparent road rage incident in Durban. 

Two vehicles; a minibus and a van, had collided. The owner of the taxi arrived at the scene and an argument ensued resulting in a firearm being pulled and a person killed.

South Africa's road statistics reveal that more than 18 000 people die on South African roads each year, while more than 150 000 people are severely injured and 8 500 people are paralysed and and the cost to the nation is north of R300 billion per annum.

Commenting on the figures, head of Driver Assess, Keith Cunningham, said the biggest danger was that most local drivers believed that they were not a part of the problem and that the one million plus tragic crashes that cause immense suffering and damage every year happen to someone else.

Like most local drivers, he believed that he certainly wasn’t reckless and definitely wasn’t prone to road rage.  

According to Cunningham, road rage can be defined as sudden acceleration, braking and close tailgating, cutting others off in a lane or deliberately preventing someone from merging into a lane.

“At worst, these sorts of drivers actually chase other motorists, flash their lights or hoot excessively, yell or behave disruptively at roadside establishments. This can even lead to physical fights and deaths,” he said.

Through his research, in the last 18 months, Cunningham realised that though there were certain triggers which sparked similar behavior to the most the most vigilant person behind the wheel. He said if each driver was aware of potential weaknesses and triggers, they could be proactive and control actions that could result in potentially lethal situations.

“Most people approach driving as they do everyday chores and operate sub-consciously. Most of us drive on autopilot. If they are aware of where their own potential risks are, they can take back control. By paying attention to what they are doing, they can take action. That is how people can change their behavior,” Cunningham said.

“At Driver Assess, we believe that the high number of South African road accidents is something that affects us all. The injuries and fatalities are unnecessary and this is something that conscious drivers can change. By using our profiler to help individuals become more self-aware and emotionally alert, we believe the roads will become safer and the number of accidents will be reduced,” Cunningham said.

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