I think most of us have at least been a witness (if not a victim) of road rage. It is hard to understand why driver become so frustrated and angry while in their cars. I was driving back to Chicago from Skokie this week and saw two (2) cutting each other off and screaming back and forth. I thought something ugly was going to happend, but at the last second one of the drivers kept his cool and drove off.
Illinois’ Driving University website published a nice article about road rage and how to avoid practicing it and how to avoid becoming a victim. Below are some important tips.
Avoid the following actions so you do not become a victim:
- Going too slow in the passing lane. Yes, you may technically be in the right because you are going the speed limit, but the far left lane is for people to pass. If you are going more slowly than the person behind you and you are in the left lane, you need to move over. Remember, it’s their speeding ticket, not yours.
- Talking on your cell phone while driving.
- Cutting other drivers off.
- Blocking the street to talk to someone. If you need to chat, pull over somewhere out of the way.
- Excessive horn use.
Also, below are some tips to help you keep your cool while on the road.
- Listen to some soothing music while you drive. If “soothing” isn’t your style, at least listen to something that make you feel happy, not angry. Music affects different people in different ways. If death metal makes you happy, great. If it makes you want to smash things, save it for when you get home.
- Once you sit down in the driver’s seat, take a deep breath and let it out slowly, before you even start the car. Do some light stretching, and try to relax.
- Don’t take other drivers actions personally. Sometimes, other drivers are going to make mistakes. That doesn’t mean that they are out to get you.
- Give yourself extra time to get where you are going. Don’t try to bend the space/time continuum and make a 30 minute drive in 20 minutes. You will only set yourself up for failure-and more stress!
- Tape a picture of your loved ones to the dashboard. Whenever you feel your blood pressure start to rise, look at the picture and think about how your family would be affected if you did something stupid.
- Try positive self-talk: When something happens on the road that makes you angry, talk yourself down. When you find yourself thinking “That *@$#*&! I can’t believe he just did that! Well, he just messed with the wrong person…,”take a deep breath and turn off your angry interior monologue. Instead, say something like this to yourself: “It’s okay. That other driver is probably a perfectly nice person and did not mean to do that. Even if they did do it on purpose, it would be silly to let a stranger ruin my day.”
- If you still can’t get a handle on your emotions when you’re behind the wheel, you may want to consider some professional help. A study conducted in 2000 at Colorado State University indicated that both relaxation and cognitive relaxation therapy can help reduce aggressive driving patterns.
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