9 tips to stop road rage

This time of year can be full of road rage triggers – hot weather; busy roads; driving to work when everyone else seems to be out driving for pleasure; trying to drive for pleasure while arguing with your partner or your children.  If you’re prone what can you do to avoid road-rage?

Our cars can feel like our own personal bubbles of safety when we’re out on the road.  That can have effects on our emotional behaviour as well as our driving.  We lose our temper and vent our frustrations at other drivers and road users

Here are nine tips to help you avoid or minimise your road-rage

1 – Plan better – Find yourself getting angry because the driver in front has stopped at the lights when you think you could have both got through, and you’re running late?  Try leaving earlier or giving a more realistic arrival time.  And if the delay arises on the way use your hands-free, or ask a passenger, to let the people at your destination know.

2 – Don’t bring things into the car that don’t belong there – That doesn’t mean physical items, it means thoughts and experiences.  Had a row with your partner?  Been frustrated at work?  Even if it’s legitimate to be upset it isn’t to let it affect your driving.  Use the RAIN method to calm down before you get behind the wheel.

3 – Remember you’re not anonymous – People think they’re anonymous or invisible behind the wheel, and this gives them a degree of latitude to behave badly.  Remember that with licence plates and other peoples’ dash-cams you aren’t anonymous or invisible.  That room for bad behaviour doesn’t exist.

4 – No loud music – A fan of “Don’t Stop Me Know” by Queen?  Great, just remember that the louder and faster the music the more aggressively you’ll drive.

5 – Remember it’s a vehicle not a communication device – Your car is there to get you and your passengers safely from A to B, not to demonstrate your thoughts about other road-users.  Beeping the horn, flashing headlights, cutting people up, jamming brakes on are all ways that people can inflame situations or endanger themselves whilst thinking that they’re getting their point across.

6 – Don’t make yourself the police – Better still don’t be the self-appointed traffic-cop, out to police other drivers’ behaviour.  Especially when that policing is about your own individual and unwritten rule-book rather than the Highway Code (which it’s probably some time since you read anyway).

7 – Remember anger is addictive- Anger lights up our dopamine receptors, but like all behaviour like that it requires slightly more each anger each time to get the same hit.  And if your attitude is “Bottling up anger is bad for you” then remember that you shouldn’t even be brewing it up in the first place.

8 – Count to ten – Count to ten before making any response.  If you still feel the need then count to ten again, and then again if necessary.  In extreme situations pull over to the side of the road or off the road completely and regain your mental equilibrium.

9 – Get help – If road rage isn’t the only place in your life that you easily demonstrate, or have to work on supressing, your anger then think about getting help.  Learning to respond differently to situations could transform your life and relationships.

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