Have you ever been cut off on the road and found yourself wanting to kill the person who did it? We all live in a high stress world full of deadlines and responsibilities, and it can be difficult to get things done and still have a life outside of work. This might result in us lashing out, and doing so on the road in our car can lead to disastrous results. If you find yourself on the verge of submitting to such anger while driving, here are a dozen suggestions on how you can overcome that and get rid of the road rage that is causing problems in your life.
1. Reduce stress.
One way to deal with the busy world of today is to feel better about being in it. Practice stress reduction techniques like meditation or yoga. Reduce the amount of caffeine and sugar in your diet. Avoid people or situations that make your blood pressure rise.
The calmer you are, the more balanced your perspective, and the less likely you are to fly off the handle because that Honda is tailgating you.
2. Get enough sleep.
We all need enough sleep to stay healthy and perform well with our daily tasks. Sufficient good quality sleep also helps improve your judgement. A rested person is more likely to be calm and rational in order to meet the challenges of the day. Getting as much sleep as you can reduces the chances that you will be irritable and lose your temper.
3. Keep moving.
In addition to keeping your weight and circulation in proper balance, exercise is great at reducing stress. Whenever you feel tense, try going for a walk. This helps to restore the sense of calmness and balance that life sometimes drains away. Also, if you are fit, you will be less likely to use your car for short trips when it is easy and pleasurable to just stroll there on your own two feet.
4. Budget your time.
While we cannot control every element in life, most of us have a pretty good idea how long it takes to do things. If you know it usually takes 20 minutes to drive to work in the morning, budget at least 25. If there is a traffic tie-up of some kind, you will be less likely to become anxious and aggressive while behind the wheel. Not leaving enough time set aside is a virtual guarantee of trouble ahead.
Plan Your Route.
Take a few minutes in the morning to listen to the traffic report. If the route you usually travel has construction delays, think about a different one to take. If you are directionally challenged, a GPS device in your car can help you navigate a new path. Do not just assume that everything will always be fine — delays are an inevitable fact of driving.
5. Just drive.
We all know how dangerous it can be use handheld devices while driving, but they can also fuel road rage. If you are busy trying to drive and talk and/or text all at the same time, it compromises your ability to control your car. This can lead to unpredictable or unsafe driving, which can anger fellow drivers and lead to an incident. Leave the phone off, keep your eyes on the road, and stay safe.
6. Step back.
Take a moment to pause and think about the situation before you let it escalate. Remember that your car does not provide you with all that much protection. If you sufficiently annoy someone, there is a possibility that they will take action against you. That could end with you in a ditch or worse!
7. Ease off.
If someone cuts you off, you might find yourself gunning the engine so you can get by them. Do not do it! This will just result in a game of tit for tat and a possible accident. Even worse, you could end causing other vehicles to crash. More people are then harmed by your pointless rivalry.
8. It’s not about you.
While the act of being cut off by someone feels like a personal slight, that person probably does not even know you, and it may even have been an accident. Perhaps were driving aggressively and felt you were in their way: that is the extent of the dispute. Remembering this makes one better realize the foolishness in taking it to the next level and a potential collision.
10. Just yield.
You may be in a hurry, but a public highway is not a speedway. Unless you are in the Indianapolis 500, driving is not a competition to see who gets there first. If someone is tailgating or otherwise causing a problem, let them pass. Chances are if the roads are busy, they will not even really be gaining any time getting by you anyway.
11. Change your music.
Who doesn’t love driving on the highway with rock music blaring through their car stereo? It can be exciting, but it also has the effect of making some drivers more aggressive. If you drive more aggressively, you are more likely to pass people and lose patience with those not maintaining your level of speed. Choose something calmer and quieter, and save the AC/DC for when you are at home with your friends.
12. Seek therapy.
If these suggestions do not help, seek professional therapy. A properly trained counselor or an anger management course can offer techniques on how you can curb your irritation. As you work with these people or as your course progresses, you may also find that you can short-circuit these feelings as soon as they bubble to the surface.
Life often seems like it is a race, but it really is not. The real test is to navigate its challenges by having a plan in place that allows you to live a balanced life. Stress will be much less of a problem for you and your judgment will not be clouded, helping you to get rid of road rage and avoid situations that cause it. Remember that foolish displays of anger while driving can have disastrous consequences not only for yourself, but many of the other drivers around you.