Physical violence between drivers has increased over the past five years, according to Belgian traffic institute Vias, citing a survey on aggression and irritating behavior in traffic released at the beginning of the “week of courtesy.”
In the survey of one thousand Belgian drivers, 7% said they had been victims of physical violence in the past year, Belga News Agency reports. In 2017, this was 2%.
The number of interviewees who say they have been victims of aggression in traffic the past year remains stable: 54% last year, 57% five years ago. One in 15 respondents said they got out of their car last year “to fight it out.”
Driving in the middle lane ‘most irritating behaviour’
A quarter of those questioned indicated that driving in the middle lane, instead of using it to pass, is the most irritating behaviour on the motorway. This is followed by tailgating (14%) and using a mobile phone behind the wheel (12%).
The answers are different when it comes to driving in more dense areas: in those conditions, a quarter of respondents were irritated by people not using their turn indicator, followed by using the mobile phone behind the wheel (21%) and entering an overcrowded intersection and blocking other road users (15%).
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“The corona pandemic seems to have caused certain forms of aggression to become more common behind the wheel,” Vias said in a statement.
“Getting out of your car to give an explanation or even to apologise to another driver is never a good idea. The very fact of getting out of your car may be taken badly by the other driver. In all circumstances, common sense and courtesy are important so that interactions between different road users can proceed smoothly. Courtesy is contagious and encourages other road users to behave in a positive way too.”