I’m usually pretty calm for my morning commute to the office, but every afternoon going home my personality changes. I become this exasperated, overly critical, screaming mess of a person because apparently, no one else knows how to drive except me. Sound familiar?
It happens like clockwork, so I thought it would be a good time to research why we suffer road rage and what we can do to combat it.
Why Road Rage Exists
We make other people’s driving personal. When you call someone an “Idiot”, you are making a judgement because you feel they are acting that way in relation to yourself. Be mindful of this filter and don’t be so critical. We have all made mistakes when driving.
People also have their own unique idea of what “good” driving entails. It’s personal and not shared by everyone else on the road.
We don’t stop to consider what may be going on with someone else. Maybe they are in the middle of a crisis, have a family emergency, just aren’t in a great frame of mind or are experiencing issues with their vehicle.
Why Road Rage is Dangerous
You put others at risk when you drive when you are angry. Defensive driving goes out the window when you are agitated, and you stop looking out for others.
Reacting to your road rage can escalate situations. Your reactions can incite aggressiveness in other drivers.
How To Avoid Road Rage in Yourself
Allow plenty of time to reach your destination. This gives you extra time if you get lost to arrive on time, and if you miss a turn it won’t feel like that big of a deal.
Listen to soothing music. Whatever is calming to you (jazz, easy listening, instrumental, etc.),
Make sure your seat and climate in your vehicle are comfortable.
Realize that you cannot control traffic only your response to it. Being aware of this will keep your mindset in a better place.
- Let aggressive drivers pass by
- Allow people to merge into your lane if it can be safely done
- Avoid braking suddenly by keeping your eyes on the road
- Scan the sides of the road for potential hazards
- Avoid blocking traffic.
If you are in a bad mood when you are about to drive, recognize that you need to calm down first. Take a short walk or meditate for a few minutes.
Don’t drive when you are overly tired. You will make mistakes and those could have major consequences.
Have snacks in the car to stave off being hangry (hungry + angry).
How to Calm Yourself Once Road Rage is Rising Up in You
Start counting. Counting will distract you from participating further in the thoughts that are driving your blood pressure up.
Pull over and allow yourself time to calm down.
Start breathing deeply. Take a deep breath in, hold for 5 seconds and exhale slowly.
What To Do If Faced With Road Rage from Another Driver
Don’t retaliate. Don’t honk your horn, make gestures, shout, make eye contact or tailgate. It will only make things worse.
If someone won’t leave you alone, drive directly to a police station, never to your home or office. You do not want this person to know where you live or work.
So what about you? Do you have a tendency to over work your horn or your middle finger when driving? Is everyone else a “Moron” or something worse? Maybe you have a story about a scary experience with someone else that was obviously in the grips of road rage. Share with us in the comments below.
Switching to public transportation,