After you, Please no after you, no I Insist. (The underlying frustration of manners)
Surveys of the road rage phenomenon have exposed Great Britain as constantly in the top three performing nations. Here we will look at how road rage is a perfect example of how most British people are unable to find an outlet to express their feelings, what happens elsewhere and what we should do.
For those of you not a driver or a frequenter of taxis, road rage is similar to queue rage at airport check in, or at fast food counters etc. Brits are presented with an idea of order yet when chaos arrives the populous is unable to react versus its expectations and the confusion, as always, brings out the primal response of anger.
In Britain drivers drive with a level of respect for each other yet when another driver disrupts the flow, the four walls of the car contain an outburst making it a somewhat private spectacular of swearing and hand gestures. Essentially its the internet with windows. The containment of the rage is terribly British as when windows are down and direct confrontation is made it is often hushed down or just a volley of single syllable expletives. Sadly there are times where it can boil over into external rage and we see awful displays of behaviour. This is just the result of months or years of accrued anguish suffered by a driver either road based or from another source.
Why does it happen ? When driving Brits are advised by both law and society that they should drive in accordance to a set of pre subscribed rules and unwritten manners, the car on the side with parked cars has right of way, its courteous to acknowledge kindness, give way to the right. Yet when faced with a situation that goes against these rules, the ensuing confusion brings rage. In other words, rage is built from the frustration brought about by the inability to be allowed to do what you think you should be doing. This is evident everywhere, in work etc, not just driving. Now instead of taking action, our reserved Brit would allow themselves to endure the suffering and the rage, bought on by this unwilling compliance, (very 'blitz') to boil up. We see this type of inwardly opposing thought narrative all the time in witty publications like Very British Problems :
It all leads to a very poor standard of driving on the UK roads. Confused. A majority of driving Brits are too conservative to break the law or adjust the laws even just a little to enable free flowing traffic which is surely the goal for everyone. Of course there are other factors too like the amount of cars on the road (way too many) and the condition of the roads themselves. Yet its always the nut behind the wheel which almost always cracks first.
Why are drivers and generally people so hung up on unwritten rules and traditions or manners? With the way we live now, these manners and traditions appear to cause more harm than good. This is another example of how our modern world has outgrown certain traditions.
These issues are not limited to the road but seeing as this is a auto club and a lot of time is spent 'behind the wheel' and observing it, it is interesting how we express ourselves through our driving. From our recent travels we see how other nations drive: British: Passive aggressive, courteous with internal volatility. Italians: Expressive, artistic, rewarding to the brave. South Africa: Passive aggressive again yet with a dangerous and selfish edge.
Each of these behaviours on the road are a materialisation of the respective countries. Brits are blindly walking into disaster be it politely, Italians are very passionate and focussed solely on the beauty and in South Africa corruption and survival are pertinent. The world is changing slowly, very slowly but it needs to, the legacy traditions under which we act subconsciously need to be redefined if we are to be succesful in the future. As long as it is understood that we can only move forward together, we can use the African proverb ; To move quickly go alone, to move far, go together....and no pushing in.