I believe that a bit of conflict on the road is perfectly fine. I mean, surely if someone doesn’t indicate, blasting the horn and flicking the birdie will probably make them think twice before doing that again?
I’d like to think that I’m an excellent driver. No really, I am amazing! You’re thinking ‘of course he’d say that, he’s a man’. But some people really do, (even when they’re not) and I guess they are protective over their driving ability. I’ve been spat at, gestured at and someone even said they’d even see me next Tuesday – (I think that’s obvious enough that I didn’t have to write it!).
According to ingenie.com, their Red Mist road rage survey revealed that 47% of respondents said that BMW drivers incited road rage, whilst Black cars are the most likely, with 24% to provoke road rage. Yes, I had a Black BMW *looks guilty*. And there’s me thinking that was just a jealous stereotype!
Conflict on our roads can be a result of a stressful day at the office, and it can prove to be a productive learning curve for some troublesome drivers; however there are instances where it is totally unacceptable, where the result of road rage left a father fighting for his life.
According to Fox, A (1973) there are four frames of reference which apply when dealing with conflict. They are primarily geared towards an organisational structure; however, I’m sure these can also be applied to drivers, especially in the context of road rage. Fox’s model suggests that we are all capable of adopting a frame in each situation we encounter. Buchanon & Huczynski (2010) suggest that each approach allows us to determine aspects of the situation such as how we behave and how we expect others to behave.
I believe that the majority of drivers assume a unitarian approach, in with which drivers perceive conflict as harmful and best avoided. They will assume a co-operative and harmonious nature on the road, towards other drivers and accept social and political frameworks, such as the Highway Code, speed limits and common courtesy. If they do come across conflict, they will seek a rapid resolution and view conflict as abnormal behaviour from deviant individuals.
I also believe that there are drivers who adopt a pluralist approach to driving. This would best describe the driver of the 4×4 who attacked Paul Currie. These individuals have their own interests at the forefront of their mind, abstaining from the co-operative and harmonious view of the Unitarian approach. The interests of these drivers will more than likely clash, as they maybe feel that their driving style is better, or disagree with other road users, meaning that they view conflict as being inevitable, resulting in road rage.
Obviously the latter approach appears to be conflict inducing, however, I still feel as if conflict should be part of our driving habit, if only for the benefit of making other drivers think before they hit the roads.
Have you ever encountered a pluralist on the road and how did you deal with them? Are there any factors that influence drivers to conduct themselves in a certain manner? Ultimately, do you think we should be driving conflict off the roads?
I’d be interested to hear your views on conflict resolution and your stories of conflict whilst driving.
– JR –