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Picture: Tony Fischer

It’s that time of the year when first-graders are strolling over Zebra crossings all over the country. Drivers need to stay extra cautious. While many drivers will slow down in the vicinity of small pedestrians, there is still room for improvement when it comes to alertness and staying calm. How well can Finns maintain their calm behind the wheel?

In a recent survey conducted by insurance company LähiTapiola, 16 percent of Finns have raged behind the wheel during the year. 18 percent said that they had been a victim of road rage. “Road rage is a dangerous state of emotion, and this aggressive state may lead to bad and temperamental action,” said Markus Nieminen, road safety manager at LähiTapiola.

According to Antero Lammi from Finnish Road Safety Council, road rage is usually sparked by another driver who causes frustration with his actions. It’s common to hear the horn behind you if you stay too long in traffic lights or if you happen to drive cautiously, the other driver in a hurry may speed past you while shouting profanities (perkele!) from the window.

According to Nieminen, hurry is one of the most common factors that cause road rage. This, naturally, can be fixed by reserving enough time to travel to the destination. “We also must accept that people make mistakes in traffic. One shouldn’t become provoked by others’ mistakes. Everyone makes a mistake sometimes,” Nieminen said.