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Road rage incidents on the rise in Belgium, says Vias Institute
Physical violence between drivers in Belgium has increased over the past five years, according to the Vias Institute road safety association which released a report on Monday based on a survey about aggression and irritating behaviour in traffic.
The survey, for which Vias questioned a thousand Belgian drivers, shows that 7% those surveyed say they were victims of physical violence in the past year. In 2017, it was 2%t. The number of respondents who say they have been victims of aggression in traffic in the past year remains stable: 54% of those surveyed this year, compared to 57% to five years ago. One in 15 respondents said they got out of the car last year 'to fight it out'.
In addition, a quarter of those surveyed indicated that driving in the middle lane of a motorway, instead of using it as an overtaking lane, is the most annoying habit of drivers. This is followed by tailgating (14%) and using a mobile phone behind the wheel (12%). In built-up areas, a quarter of those surveyed were annoyed by those not indicating when turning. This is followed by using the mobile phone behind the wheel (21%) and entering a crowded intersection and blocking other road users (15%).
"The corona pandemic seems to have caused certain forms of aggression to occur more often behind the wheel,” Vias stated. “Getting out of your car to explain or even apologise to another driver is never a good idea. The mere fact that you get out of your car can be misunderstood by the other driver. In all circumstances, common sense and courtesy are important so that the interactions between different road users can run smoothly. Courtesy is contagious and also encourages other road users to behave positively."
The report was announced at the start of the institute’s Week of Courtesy campaign, designed to encourage drivers to take a more relaxed and respectful view of fellow road users.