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What ticks off drivers in Japan? New survey reveals top 3 causes of road rage

48 Comments
By Ingrid Tsai, SoraNews24

If there’s one thing universal around the world, it’s road rage, and Japan is unfortunately not an exception. From altercations on the road to literal sword attacks, road rage in Japan occurs in a variety of ways, and most importantly, a new and recent survey has gauged what exactly triggers drivers in Japan to lose their temper.

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Photo: Pakutaso

Conducted by insurance company Zurich, the online survey was presented to 2,230 individuals who drove at least more than once a week. In terms of how often people encountered road rage, 50 percent of respondents have yet to be personally involved in a road rage incident whereas 17.5 and 18.3 percent have respectively experienced a fellow driver’s road rage within one year as well as six years of driving.

Furthermore, for such folks who have experienced someone else’s temper on the road, when asked specifically about the type of incident they were involved in, more than 70 percent answered “speedily approached by the [other] driver’s car.”

Now for what exactly causes individuals to go berserk while behind the wheel, the survey breaks down a few of the reasons. In third place at 15.4 percent is “changing lanes.” No doubt, as anyone who’s been on the road long enough will know, there’s definitely something annoying about drivers who haphazardly switch lanes or who fail to use their blinkers, though that doesn’t justify and shouldn’t prompt violence.

Jumping up to second place, the second biggest reason that gets drivers in Japan heated is “slow driving” at 21.4 percent. Regardless of where you are in the world, naturally folks rushing to get to their destination hate being delayed by a slower driver. But as we all share the road, it’s important to take into consideration everyone’s driving ability, especially individuals who are newer to it or have slower reflexes.

And without further ado, at 25.6 percent, the number one cause which puts more quick tempered drivers into a blind fury is getting passed. Though it’s not specifically stated whether it’s a matter of simply getting passed on the road or getting passed while in the fast lane, the result is a great oust considering how for last year’s survey the number one cause was “driving at the speed limit.”

Nevertheless, netizens reflected over their own driving experiences online in response:

“Road rage isn’t great, but there’s a lot of lousy drivers out there.”

“Regardless of what you do, if someone has a tendency to get pissed, then they’ll just get pissed no matter what.”

“Not going to lie, I get really angry when people speed through a right turn.”

“It’s often suggested we drive at least two car lengths behind the driver ahead of us. For folks prone to road rage, that’s impossible for them.”

“Those who run people off the road should have to re-do driver’s ed.”

Driving sometimes brings out the worst in people, leading to fights on the road or even a standstill in traffic. But like any other foray into greater society, it’s not always doom and gloom, especially when it comes to the more amusing, memorable moments.

Source: MONEYzine via Yahoo! Japan via Hachima Kiko, PR Times

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Elderly motorists in Japan given option to “graduate from driving” to prevent accidents

-- Outrage sparked: Tokyo truck driver abandons body of suicide victim, claims the body was a “doll”

-- Elderly woman drives at speed on sidewalk in Japan 【Video】

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

48 Comments
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What I hate the most is when a driver from the left or right turns in to the road in front of me at great speed and then slows down to turtle speed!!! If you are brave enough to turn 10 meters in front of me, you should be able to drive at the speed limit!!!

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Any driver who ever experiences rage while behind the wheel of a car, in charge of tonnes of fast moving deadly metal, should hand in their licence for the sake of themselves and wider society. At the same time, local governments should impose traffic calming measures on the roads such as much slower speed-limits, speed humps, etc to help stop the ongoing carnage caused by cars.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

the number one cause which puts more quick tempered drivers (in Japan) into a blind fury is getting passed

Doubt if this is number one in other countries. Does not impact at all on one's driving, in the way the second and third causes do.

The reason this is number one in Japan has to do with the group mentality and the taboo of breaking the group consensus.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Try that crap in L.A. and get your butt handed to you. Case closed. These folks know there aren't any repercussions so just like a rampant bully, they continue on their ways.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

green=go

yellow=go fast

red= 2 more

i see this so many times everyday. How does this not make it into the top three?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I hate when I am in the overtaking lane on the expressway, overtaking a car and doing about 120km/h, when some idiot decides to ride my tail from about six inches away. I immediately ease off the gas and slow down to annoy such idiots, then give them the finger as they drive by.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

People that think stop signs are art displays.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

In Okayama for me :

stopping in front of in-outs - I'm sitting there waiting to turn out of a parking lot and a car will just stop right in front of the in-out and block anybody from, well, getting in or out thus backing up traffic

stopping in the middle of intersection - here in Okayama, folks will jut fill up an intersection going in one direction and when the light changes to green for the other direction, nobody can move

running red lights - here you have to wait 5 seconds or more after the light turns green before you can go because cars keep coming from the other direction after they get the red light (if the intersection isn't blocked - see above). Seen many a wreck this way.

not knowing how to work a 4-way stop (this applies to Japan and the US)
4 ( +4 / -0 )

Oh I'm surprised that drivers didn't say that pedestrians crossing the road at zebra crossings and getting in their way also caused their road rage. How many times have I tried to cross the road at a zebra crossing and drivers simply do not stop to allow me to cross!!!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Mine is people driving right up to stop signs on side roads at high speed and then braking heavily. This annoys me both when I am driving and even more when I'm on my bike, where you've got to be defensive.

Almost everyone hits the brakes before indicating, but I'm used to that now. Like people driving through the first few seconds of red, I don't expect anyone to flag it as a problem in others because they all do it themselves.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Those talking on their mobile phones while driving or picking nose while driving

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I would have thought tailgating.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

With no enforcement of traffic laws you are on your own out there. The angriest driver wins.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I live i a small coastal town with a majority elderly population ,most of whom seem to drive...very slowly....

You cant get angry at their "antics " or you'd be angry all day.

Wife and I just laugh.....works for us.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

What frustrates the most are the right lane hoggers on the expressways! Especially if they are Kei cars (Light cars should be banned from toll roads in the first place) or trucks

Although, I noticed that when I drive my German car they tend to give way and move over more often than when driving my family van, I don't know why.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

El RataToday  09:50 am JST

What frustrates the most are the right lane hoggers on the expressways! 

Know what you mean but overtaking on the inside is not illegal in Japan. It takes some getting used to when you come from a country where it is illegal.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

collegepark30349Today  08:41 am JST

In Okayama for me :

Yes, if you visit our palatial driving licence centre they will tell you that Okayama has been proven to have the worst drivers in Japan. After 5 years in Okayama I can confirm that it is indeed true and we could go on to discuss many other examples such as not knowing how to turn right, how to use a (rare I know but they exist) roundabout etc. etc.

My wife gave me some good advice: she said don't shout at other drivers in Japanese, use English instead, much more effective. There are a few drivers here who will have gone home and asked their husband/wife/ kids, what does "you dozy tart/prat mean"?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Many of the ones mentioned above.

Mine is not being able to turn right on a green arrow because the cars coming in the opposite direction have run the red light on the other side.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Drivers will refuse to admit or acknowledge a mistake, such pulling too far out of a side street / driveway then having to stop with the front of their car across the sidewalk or in the middle of a lane. They stare straight ahead, as if thinking if I don't acknowledge my mistake, it didn't happen. That one is probably just me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I get angey when I am behing a lazy driver in a single lane road, so that's always in Japan. But I keep it for myself and love shouting for my own sake rude works, which makes me laugh after a few seconds.

Japanese don't know how to drive and I would avoid and let any weird or angry driver go where they want.

Driving is one of the rare ways for some Japanese to let otherwise kept hidden anger spit out.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So many blah blah complains even in good traffic system. Try to drive in other part of the world where there are no lanes, no traffic signals, no signs, full of loud horns, people/animals passing by, bumpy roads etc then you will realize how smooth you are driving most of the time.

There are no good drivers in the world. There will never be. There are always 3 types of drivers. Slow drivers, Bad drivers and Rough drivers. You belong to either one of them or all of them.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I think one of the problems and most frustrating things about driving in Japan is a lot of drivers take public transportation during the week and drive on the weekend and holidays as a means of recreation. They're slow, talking to their friends and family members or checking their phone , hesitant, and generally don't have good driving skills. You combine that with poorly, set, idiotic traffic lights that are absolutely frustrating. This builds up in every day drivers.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Absolutely shocking that changing lanes is the most annoying thing ?? For me NOT changing lanes is the most annoying thing. People have the right to go as slowly as they want or are able. Many places in Japan are only single lane and there is no choice but to crawl along behind them. On the few occasions where are are two lanes, for pity’s sake if you want to go slowly, move to the left hand lane. The idea that many people are not moving across because they feel they will annoy other drivers for “changing lanes” is so depressingly ironic that I feel almost suicidal !!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It doesn't help that school children are taught that traffic lights are blue not green.

Bunch of short Japanese made cars with tiny wheels try to be efficient and driving with their bright lights on blinding each other as they pass by . I my experience in driving in Japan the driver's here are terrible and the concept of flow of traffic is not understood.

Road rage is a mental condition that should be addressed more appropriately with strict penalties and licenses withheld from perpetrators.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It doesn't help that school children are taught that traffic lights are blue not green. 

Schoolchildren in Japan are taught traffic safety in Japanese, not English. They learn that traffic lights are 青(ao), 赤(aka), 黄(ki).

ao, as in aoao (fresh and green, verdant); aogaeru (green frog) or aojiru (green vegetable juice) means green. In words like aokakesu (bluejay), aokabi (blue mould) or aojashin (blueprint) it can also mean blue. In words like aosagi (grey heron) it can even mean grey.

That does not mean that Japanese children 'are taught that traffic lights are blue not green', it means that you have not grasped the meaning of 青.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Speeding should be mentioned. Nagoya is terrible for this.

In Japanese it is called 名古屋 bashiri。

Between Kobe and Osaka is bad too, but probably more with tailgating.

I used to drive in west Tokyo and the jaywalking by the elderly really annoyed me.

My wife said drive 10 km over the speed limit, since it is what people do.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cleo thankyou for help me more clearly grasp the Japanese use of blue or green even tho traffic lights are not from Japan and neither are the automobile.

If its green we say green its that simple and there's no confusion.

Midori is green.

Traffic lights are green .

It means i refuse to call something blue that actually green.

Obviously i know Japanese call it blue otherwise i wouldn't have comment it.

Please don't expect foreigners to adopt or need to grasp the concepts of so called Japanese culture and educational system because we're not impressed with it and we created the technology of electricity and the combustion engine anyway.

There's alot of messed up stuff in Japan like looking at a 12 hour clock and reading it as a 24hr clock.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

People who stop in a blind curve on a hill to answer their phones, and its only 2 lanes.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If its green we say green its that simple and there's no confusion.

In English, yes.

Midori is green. 

So is ao.

Traffic lights are green .

In English, yes.

It means i refuse to call something blue that actually green.

It means you're confused between English and Japanese. Vocabulary items are not necessarily a one-to-one conversion.

Obviously i know Japanese call it blue

But they don't; they call it ao, which in English translates as green.

Please don't expect foreigners to adopt or need to grasp the concepts of so called Japanese culture and educational system

I wouldn't dream of it. We're not discussing Japanese culture and educational system (don't know why they're 'so-called'); we're discussing the translation of a single word, for which there is not an exact one-to-one match so that the translation varies according to the context.

we created the technology of electricity and the combustion engine anyway.

...which has what relevance to vocabulary items? and who is 'we'?

There's alot of messed up stuff in Japan like looking at a 12 hour clock and reading it as a 24hr clock.

Gawd, where to begin.....

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Actually some traffic lights around here are actually blue, not green, but that’s fine because they fit into the word or concept of 青 ao. Nothing to do with road rage of course.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Unfortunately, Japanese drivers seem all too confident to ride your tail, yet lack any confidence to confront the victim's dissatisfaction when it occurs. And tbh, that, as the person confronting the perpetrator is the most frustrating thing, seeing the sad middle-aged man awkwardly stare in any direction besides yours as you attempt to reconcile why he was riding your bumper.

Though there are some incredibly polite people on the roads here, there seem to be quite a few that are unable to use the roads safely at all, I mean, these guys are doing things we did in Europe over 10-15 years ago; I've seen babies crawling on dashboards, countless people on their phones, and hell, I saw a kei car fall on its side from clipping the outside kerb whilst trying to spin a quick u-turn. What exactly do they do in the driver's license examination?

You can't win against them, you will be facing down with an inifinite number of terrible drivers, you have to just just try and relieve yourself of the situation. It will never end for as long as Japan oppresses its citizens via its own culture and employs such rudimentary driver training.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Many people think they can change lane instantly as soon as they light their directional light. Obviously without looking at who is behind: a train, a truck, a bus, a tank, 1st Cavalry Division, it doesn't matter...

People on bicycles (especially children) go from sidewalk to crosswalk without stopping... but there is no wall to protect them. Even if I go 40km/h, my car and I don't received the gift from God to stop instantly. In the 80s there was a TVseries called "Automan", well that car has not yet been invented.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think most would agree tail gating is pretty bad here, one I ALWAYS watch for especially if a truck is behind me & thats at intersections where you know its soon going to be red but the vehicle behind is speeding while you are slowing down.....I have had some harrowing experiences with stopping at reds & having vehicles then swerve out PASS (often in the right turn lane) & then run the red

4 ( +4 / -0 )

None of those 3 make me react negatively to other drivers. I hate tail-gating though. It's simple dangerous, shows poor driving awareness, and is downright rude.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If drivers could just go with the flow of traffic I wouldn’t need to tailgate you.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

People with the right of way and no stop sign stopping for me when I'm at a stop sign, waiting for them to finish going through the intersection.

Absolute morons.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I had a group of bikers pass me on a blind curve out on a country road. I was pissed. The last thing I need is a car coming around the other side and sending one of the bikes into my windshield.

The bikers sped on ahead, but as chance would have it, I pulled into a cafe just as they were heading out. I ran over and caught the last two bikers and gave them an earful.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Actually some traffic lights around here are actually blue, not green, but that’s fine because they fit into the word or concept of 青 

That’s the result of the government trying to find a compromise between international standards (green = go) and the Japanese concept, which cleo has explained so well above. They went for the bluest shade of green they could.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/japan-green-traffic-lights-blue

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Paul:

What I hate the most is when a driver from the left or right turns in to the road in front of me at great speed and then slows down to turtle speed!!! If you are brave enough to turn 10 meters in front of me, you should be able to drive at the speed limit!!!

I can't say I've noticed this, but then again I don't drive in Japan (and I'm not going to as long as drivers are arrested for being involved in accidents caused by pedestrians and cyclists).

What I have noticed (as a pedestrian) is drivers turning left but only looking right. When I see a driver about to turn left and I am approaching from the car's left side, I NEVER go anywhere near the car, especially if I'm on my bike. These idiot drivers only look left after they've turned left.

And half the drivers turning don't stop for pedestrians even when the pedestrian lights are green. I ALWAYS wait for the car to stop before crossing even though I have priority. I don't know how Japanese cyclists have the guts to just cycle without stopping and looking out for cars. I value my life.

And just today, I saw a learner driver drive through the red lights slowly (probably because he/she was hesitating). Needless the say the driver waiting for them to get out the way was not pleased. Drivers here really need to understand that red means STOP. I have no sympathy for these people who are involved in car crashes. I live by an intersection, and I see wrecked cars once every few months.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Road Rage?

Surely that doesn't exist.

"If there:s another driver going faster than me... then I clearly need to pass them.

And if there's someone in my way, well... I will do a Napoleon upon my seat... bounce up and down, shout bad words, hoping they hear and do my best to get around them regardless who else is in my way,,,,and then when I do, I will just stop them , and give them a piece of my mind, and if I feel like it... a good thumping."

"Clockwork Orange" meets "Sunday Drivers Club".

A heated discussion.

....................................... 8

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well, if you have an old car, and you are going the speed limit, yet someone is tailgating and getting angrier and angrier, it’s always fun to slow down just a little....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What I have noticed (as a pedestrian) is drivers turning left but only looking right. When I see a driver about to turn left and I am approaching from the car's left side, I NEVER go anywhere near the car, especially if I'm on my bike. These idiot drivers only look left after they've turned left.

With the right presence of mind, that's an easy insurance payment!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most people get pissed off with others passing them???? Lot's of fragile little egos there!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I do not think tailgating causes road rage here in Japan.

I think the tailgating is the rage, the end result, and it's caused by tunnel-vision drivers who never or rarely use their rear mirrors and are completely oblivious to what's going on behind them. Such drivers may pull out suddenly in front of you, and then after holding everyone up, turn off with no indication or warning, swerving in the opposite direction first for the dramatic swing around.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I got stressed just reading this and the comments. In the States I actually enjoy driving and where I am from there is more give and take and less passive aggressive actions such as speeding up when someone tries to pass you which I see/saw a lot in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I do not think tailgating causes road rage here in Japan.

It's both. I've had driver's tailgate me out of nowhere which has enraged me. Take this for example: driving on a single lane mountain road between Nagano and Hakuba whilst following six or more cars in severe rain, a Fiat 500 approaches my rear and hangs on to my bumper (within approx. 2m). There is nowhere to pass with a constant stream of oncoming traffic and even if the driver were to pass, could he have taken six vehicles under these conditions, absolutely not. I pulled over and let him pass as it was just too dangerous. At a set of lights up ahead I had the intention of getting out and confronting him but hesitated and the lights went green.

I have many more examples of this kind of behaviour where the tailgating is the initiator.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You did the right thing Joe. If possible pull over and take the scenic picture. Let the freak harass the next guy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That does not mean that Japanese children 'are taught that traffic lights are blue not green', it means that you have not grasped the meaning of 青.

That’s true, but I don’t think Japan has quite grasped it either !!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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