Matthew Best is an advanced driving instructor and co-founder of The Driving Project
As a local driving instructor who spends many hours in the car, I regularly witness road rage in the city.
Statistics show that a staggering 95 per cent of road traffic accidents are caused by bad driver attitude.
I believe that driver attitude is best addressed from an early age and it’s why I founded The Driving Project – an under-17 scheme sponsored locally by Hendy Ford, which introduces driver education within secondary schools for ages 14-16.
Young people often believe driving skills are all that are needed for them to be safe on the roads. However, developing a mature driver attitude heavily influences their behaviour behind the wheel and respect for other road users. By educating drivers before they hit the road, I believe we can instill positive attitude from the outset before bad habits creep in.
Aggressive and impatient attitudes influence the way we drive and can encourage us to take irresponsible risks such as speeding, tailgating or jumping red lights. I always teach my students that safe driving requires a responsible attitude to other road users, because their attitude not only influences their own well-being, but that of others around them.
Even if nobody is hurt, the consequences of road rage could be penalty points, insurance increases or landing yourself in court.
The problem is that many aggressive drivers or ‘road ragers’ do not see themselves as aggressive. One solution to this might be installing a dashboard camera. Some insurers are starting to cut premiums for those drivers who record their journeys.
An increasing number of countries in Europe are making it compulsory for all new drivers to attend classes that warn of the consequences of aggressive and inconsiderate driving.
I strongly urge the UK government to make driver education and road safety a compulsory part of the national curriculum.
We need to address road-user attitudes and driving behaviour through improved education before a provisional licence can be obtained.
Drivers need to understand that being in charge of a vehicle is a big responsibility. Road rage can damage lives and at its most deadly, it can take lives.
n The Driving Project was launched by Portsmouth driving school All Drivers Academy. Go to driving project.co.uk for more.