FISTS in the air, veins popping and words that luckily, can only be heard from inside a car.

Even Witsies sometimes give in to road rage.

Wayne Naidoo, an aeronautical engineering student, says, “I do not hoot at people but swear really loudly”. He forgets incidents quickly, however, and believes most people do the same.

Another aeronautical engineer, Alesha Saligram, does not get angry and never hoots. She does not mind if people cut her off as long as they indicate early.

However, electrical engineering student Carl Wolmarans feels iritated when people drive too slowly or too fast. He thinks that people who drive slowly are incompetent. He believes road rage impairs your judgement and endangers other drivers and pedestrians.

Kirsten Cox, an LLB student, not only throws legal terms around but her fists too. Her pet peeve is taxis and she has had “staring matches” with taxi drivers in the past. She says taxis act as if they own the road, drive at their own speeds and don’t care about the people around them.

The term “road rage” was first used in 1980 and has been classified as an official mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Synovate, a global research company, conducted studies on road rage in South Africa and found that aggressive driving has been reported by 51% of drivers, with Gauteng being the worst.

Synovate’s Chief Operating Officer, Albert McLean, said this behaviour is becoming more acceptable and this could increase the aggression on our roads.

“South Africans are clearly extremely aggressive on the roads,” said McLean.

Bruce Sharkin, a professor from Pennsylvania, mentioned three factors, namely demographics, the environment and human factors, which contribute to road rage. Sharkin says some drivers find the environment too stressful and get overly angry with other drivers.

The Arrive Alive Road Traffic report stated that the human factor contributed 82% to the number of fatal crashes in 2009. This included people who were driving too fast, too slowly or who made irrational decisions.