No one is perfect; road rage can happen to anyone. When someone cuts you off or doesn’t follow traffic laws it can be maddening. Driving with road rage is dangerous and does not help in the long run. It is important to keep your priorities straight and not to lose your cool. Here are a few ways to avoid road rage and arrive safely.
Keep an eye on the traffic nearby, up ahead, and behind you. Take notice of other drivers’ behavior such as tailgating, switching lanes without signaling, and excessive horn honking. If you see a problem driver up ahead, slow down and keep a safe distance. If a driver nearby is displaying characteristics of road rage, try to put as much space between your car and theirs in a controlled and calm way. Unpredictable drivers behind you pose the greatest challenge. Your first instinct is to speed up to get away from them but that may not always be the safest option.
You cannot control other people’s actions, but you can control your own. Have a plan for reducing your own stress before the problem occurs. Find music that relaxes you or makes your happy and keep a copy in your car. Keep it easily accessible so finding your favorite song doesn’t add to your stress. Aggressive drivers can make you anxious. Try flexing your fingers by squeezing the wheel and then loosening your grip. Roll your head from side to side or alternate lifting and releasing your shoulders to decrease stiffness. Concentrate on taking deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Check traffic reports or apps for construction and backups before you hit the road. Build a few extra minutes into your trip so you arrive relaxed and on time. If you are not in a hurry, you are more likely to let others pass you and less likely to cause an accident. Consider other factors that can greatly affect traffic patterns like weather, school schedules, federal holidays, entertainment events, and vacation destinations.
When another driver expresses their aggression, do not take it personally. They were probably having a bad day long before you came into their line of sight. Give them a break and just get out of their way. Be the better person and be a courteous driver. Stay in your lane, signal before switching lanes, and do not block the passing lane. Chances are the person trying to pass you is running late because they didn’t plan well, but maybe they have a real emergency. You will feel better knowing you were kind to someone when they needed it most.
There are more cars on the road now than ever before. Even at legal speed limits, car crashes are often deadly. Driving with road rage does not usually end well, so be a safe driver and do not let anyone else make you a victim.
Image via Flickr by Herkie