27 Apr 2012

Electronic courtesy messages to combat road rage

9:31 pm on 27 April 2012

Australian drivers are being encouraged to post polite messages on new roadside signs to combat an increase in road rage.

A motoring group is erecting electronic billboards across New South Wales, where drivers can leave courtesy messages submitted via social media, or at a series of public meetings, the BBC reports.

The NRMA motoring lobby is erecting nine electronic boards across New South Wales and the ACT for drivers to post what the organisation is calling "courtesy messages".

"We want to put positive messages on these signs that are encouraging people to drive a bit more courteously," NRMA president Wendy Machin said.

"We're asking the driving public to be part of that, to tell us what they think might make us a little bit happier and a little bit nicer on the roads, and we'll put some of those ideas up on these big signs."

And the ABC reports a survey by the lobby shows almost 50% of drivers have feared for their safety after being exposed to discourteous behaviour on the road, and 40% of survey respondents say they had been verbally abused and more than 20% said they had been threatened or physically abused.

"We have carried out surveys for many years now right across Australia ... and motorists are telling us that it's becoming a growing concern," Ms Machin said.

"They are worried about other drivers' behaviour and they are witnessing more and more incidents that alarm them.

"So yes, it is definitely a growing concern and I think something we have to start addressing."

Ms Machin said the messages would serve to encourage more civil behaviour on the road.

"We tend to get in traffic, we tend to get stressed and think we've got to get somewhere immediately," she said.

"Letting someone get in front of you, you know, merging nicely, politely, won't slow you down and it will make everybody's life that little bit easier.

"We [don't] want an essay, we're looking for more like a slogan, something that might fit on a bumper sticker or just be a catchy phrase."