Let’s face it; driving can be frustrating sometimes. Road rage affects even the calmest drivers from time-to-time, so it’s important as a new driver to understand both how to avoid road rage and how to deal with road rage when it occurs. Keeping your cool can be difficult, especially when there are stressed, tired, and aggressive drivers all around you. You must keep in mind, however, that road rage affects your mood beyond a short period of time; it can become a reoccurring issue.
How Road Rage Affects You
In the heat of a road rage moment, you could become so angry that your brain functions shut down. After the incident is over, you may feel feelings of regret or confusion as to why your emotions spiked so suddenly and violently. People with extreme road rage problems can even “black out” from reality for short periods of time when this shutting down occurs. This often leads to feeling of rage and a desire for revenge- two emotions that you certainly do not want to be feeling while at the wheel. It is extremely dangerous to be under any emotional stress while driving, and road rage tops this list.
When you experience road rage, you are dealing with a very dangerous issue. When you are angry at the wheel, you are enacting several potential problems, including:
- Risking the safety and lives of yourself and your passengers
- Risking the lives of other drivers around you and their passengers
- Risking your own freedom (Yes, your road rage could lead to imprisonment if it goes too far!)
- Negatively affecting your life in general (If you’re upset in your vehicle, it can carry over to other parts of your life).
- How to Avoid Road Rage for Yourself and Others
Avoiding a road rage incident before it happens can be the difference between life and death. With road rage incidents at all time high and having the potential to affect every driver on the road, it’s essential you understand the signs and behaviors to help avoid aggressive behavior or becoming a victim.
Do not deliberately “cut off” other drivers
Though this does happen, sometimes drivers do “cut off” other drivers in traffic because they are angry and want to intimidate them. Try to keep an eye on the vehicles surrounding you to avoid this problem.
Do not tailgate other drivers
Also, do not let other drivers tailgate you. Tailgating others often causes them to experience road rage, and drivers doing the same to you could also cause anger. If someone is tailgating you, pull over or switch lanes and let them pass you to avoid potential problems. To keep from tailgating another driver, stay at least two stopping seconds away from them.
Do not drive too fast or two slow
Whether you’re going too slowly in the fast lane (more than 5 mph below the speed limit), or driving at high speeds in any lane, you are potentially endangering other drivers who are abiding by the speed limit. This is especially hazardous for drivers around you operating on cruise control.
Stay in a calm state of mind
Don’t let the actions other drivers take irritate you. Perhaps they are in a hurry or are having a bad day. You never know what someone is going through. If you accidently cut someone off, make an attempt to show them a “sorry” gesture (a wave, for example), but keep in mind that very irritated drivers can sometimes take any gesture as offensive.
Remember, safety is your top priority
If your driving is influenced by rage, it is not positively contributing to a safe driving experience for yourself and others around you. Think of the people you care about, and drive as if they were on the road with you.
How to Deal with Your Road Rage When it Occurs
Dealing with road rage when it occurs can be challenging as emotions can cloud rational judgement. By becoming familiar with these tips, you can arm yourself with the information you need to protect yourself and your passengers.
Realize you cannot control other drivers
If someone has road rage around you, try to keep your distance and avoid interacting with them if possible. Keep in mind that your anger cannot affect other drivers in any way and that it is not productive to think it can. Stay calm and focus on perfecting your own driving skills to prevent causing road rage in others.
Think about a place or person that calms your mind
Whether it’s a hammock on the beach or a deserted mountain path, think about some place or someone that makes you feel serene. This can take your mind off of the current, frustrating situation and refocus it on a healthier alternative. You can also try thinking about a relaxed, safe trip to your destination to reboot your angered state of mind.
Let someone else take the wheel if it’s an option
When he/she does, you can sit back and relax, taking yourself out of the situation completely. There are certainly things that are more important in your life than others with bad driving habits.
Remember that you’re not always a perfect driver
Everyone makes mistakes, and you are not exempt from this statement. Remember this when you notice bad driving practices from others and you’ll see that small goofs are part of a bigger, better driving experience.
Practice relaxation techniques
If visualization doesn’t help, do some deep breathing and stress reduction exercises. Try pulling over and doing some stretches. You can even step out of your car for a few minutes for maximum impact. You can also try audibly telling yourself positive statements like “Everything will be okay,” or “It’s not as bad as it seems right now.”
Above all, stay calm and keep your focus on the road. If you do this, you can escape road rage issues once and for all!