Dealing with road bullies in Singapore

A Singaporean mum recently encountered a vulgarities-spewing road bully and was terrified when he confronted her. Find out more about the case and how to deal with road rage and road bullies.

Road rage — How do you deal with it? You may think it is uncommon in Singapore, but one local mum experienced a road bully and a confrontation with him just last Friday.

A mother’s encounter of road bully

On Friday morning 17 May 2013, a mum of two was dropping her children off at Tanglin Post Office when suddenly, another road user abruptly reversed his car out of the parking lot and in the direction of her car. Startled, female driver sounded her horn as a natural reaction to avert an accident.

The response she received, however, was alarming. The burly driver continued reversing his vehicle before stopping and yelling vulgarities at her as he wound down his window. The shocked mum replied that she only sounded her horn because she was afraid that his car would hit hers.

Despite her explanation, insults continued being hurled from the male Caucasian driver as he continued deliberately putting his car in reverse gear to frighten the mother. Following that, he got out of his car to confront her.

Terrified, the mum took out her camera phone and started snapping photos of the man, who whipped out his mobile in response to do the same too. As he was cursing at her, he also went right up to her window and snapped shots of her face.

Female drivers -- The victims of rod rage and road bullying?

Female drivers — The victims of road rage and road bullying?

Targeting female drivers

The age-old stereotype against female drivers has long been pervasive and so taken for granted that most road users already have an ingrained bias against the competence of lady drivers. The unfair generalisation that drivers of the fairer sex are of a lower driving standard and ability than their male counterparts has probably fueled much misunderstanding and bullying.

Upon posting her story on The Straits Times Singapore’s online citizen journalism website, STOMP, this mother of two was battered with even more insults from netizens criticising females like her for being frustratingly slow and “bad” drivers who deserve this sort of treatment.

Besides the hurtful comments made by many as well as the frightening encounter that this Singaporean mum had to face on the road, unfair judgement of her driving abilities was passed. While we may only know one side of the story so far, it may not be sound to quickly label one a good or bad driver based on their gender.

Practising road courtesy

Users of Singapore’s busy roads have to be responsible for their actions and considerate to others sharing the space. Obeying limits and traffic regulations, in addition to vigilance and patience, plays an important role in ensuring a good driving experience for all.

A safe and thoughtful driver who is cautious and courteous has a lower chance of becoming a victim of road rage and similarly, drivers who are more patient and forgiving towards the errors of newer and less experienced drivers can also contribute to more pleasant road usage.

What to do if you encounter road rage

Don’t know what to do when you meet a road bully? Fret not! Here are some guidelines by the Singapore Police Force on how to deal with road rage responsibly.

Police have the following advice for those who encounter road bullies:

■ Remain calm and maintain your own safe driving habits.

■ Do not engage an aggressive driver by responding in an aggressive or reckless manner.

■ Maintain a safe driving distance from the other vehicles.

■ Do not engage in a face-to-face confrontation with the road bully, or further agitate the road bully with confrontational gestures, expressions or behaviour.

■ Note the vehicle number of the road bully and file a police report so that action can be taken.

Remember, safety always comes first when driving along the bustling streets of our city. Responsible and considerate driving not only prevents ugly encounters but also prevents dangerous accidents too. This is especially so when driving with kids in tow — with their lives are in your hands, it becomes doubly important that safe habits are practised.

Watch Singapore’s Road Courtesy Campaign video by the Singapore Traffic Police:

Also read: When should you say no to your child