Road rage cases pose huge safety challenge

Updated: 2015-12-03 11:12

By Wang Xiaodong(China Daily)

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Road rage cases pose huge safety challenge

Drivers hold placards saying "stop road rage" at a bus terminal in Weifang city, East China's Shandong province, on May 26, 2015. [Photo/IC]

More than 17 million cases of road rage have been handled by police in China this year as authorities struggle to teach drivers in the world's largest car market better road etiquette.

On the eve of National Traffic Safety Day, which fell on Wednesday, the Ministry of Public Security described road rage as a major traffic safety issue.

The number of traffic accidents caused by road rage reached 80,000 in 2013, an increase of 4.9 percent year-on-year. Last year saw the rate rise by 2.4 percent.

Ninety-seven percent of the drivers involved in road rage incidents were male, the ministry said.

Road rage often occurs in traffic jams, when drivers are under pressure and feeling frustrated, the ministry said in a statement.

It also warned motorists of the dangers of so-called distracted driving, such as using mobile phones while driving, which it said caused 21,570 deaths last year.

In May, a video showing a male driver beating a female motorist in retaliation for an alleged dangerous lane change in Chengdu, Sichuan province, left many people stunned.

The man was later detained by police for injuring the woman.

In November, a driver in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, forced an ambulance to pull over several times, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The driver, surnamed Wang, later told police he thought the ambulance driver was insulting him by gesturing to him, so he became angry.

The ambulance driver said he gestured to Wang to ask him to make way for his vehicle, which was carrying a patient with a bone fracture.

Shi Chuan, a psychiatrist at Peking University Sixth Hospital, said drivers can reduce road rage by learning to control their emotions, but the causes of such incidents may differ among motorists.

Drivers who are frequently involved in road rage are often those who can only strike a "psychological balance" by taking revenge against other drivers, he said. Some of them have large egos and can feel easily affronted by trivial incidents while driving, Shi added.

Hou Yifeng, a fourth-year college student at Shanghai Normal University, said he is always cautious about traffic violations when driving.

"I think most people involved in road rage are not well educated," he said.

Serious traffic congestion in big cities is a major cause of tension and road rage among drivers, according to a report by the Institute of Psychology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The number of vehicles in China reached 276 million by the end of October, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Sun Yuan and Xinhua contributed to this story.