If you haven’t been the victim of road rage or the perpetrator at some point in your life, then you just aren’t human. Sometimes we all let our emotions get the best of us. It’s not about focusing on the past, but learning how to avoid outbursts, rage, and anger in the future. You can influence your attitude and you can start by learning and keeping these tips to avoid your road rage in mind.
That fact that you are here, reading this article is proof that you care enough to get your road rage under control. That’s a big step, a huge step, in the journey to overcome road rage and remain calm on the road.
Your life, your peace of mind, and your well-being are not worth a short outburst of anger on the road. It never will be. Which is why we hope you take these tips to avoid your road rage to heart.
1. Slow down.
In the words of Brookes Hatlen, “The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.”
Doesn’t it feel like we always have somewhere to be, someone to text back, or some errand to run? In an age where technology is meant to make our lives easier, it has seemed to make us rush more than ever.
Being late to work, a meeting or a flight will never be a valid excuse to be aggressive on the road. If you need to be somewhere at a given time, you shouldn’t drive aggressively to make to there on time. Of course, that’s easier said than done.
But the best tip to avoid road rage is simply to leave earlier. Which means waking up earlier, or not overscheduling yourself for appointments, it means that you must slow down your entire day as much as you can without creating major disturbances.
Try leaving earlier for appointments. You may discover that your slow and steady drive on the road completely changes your outlook. Of all the tips to avoid your road rage, this is by far the most effective.
2. Don’t take your anger on the road.
When was the last road rage incident you remember? What happened, where were you driving, and how long ago was it? Chances are you can’t remember any other road rage incidents unless you had one today.
Road rage is so fleeting, that you won’t even remember that moment the next day. The thing about anger is that it passes. So make sure your anger has passed or you have it under control before you drive.
Never get behind the wheel after being in a fight or while you’re still at the height of anger. Take the time to calm yourself before driving so you don’t take your anger and aggression on the road to potentially harm yourself and other pedestrians. It’s just not worth it.
3. Practice proper road etiquette.
How obvious right? This is one of the tips to avoid your road rage we didn’t need! Duh!!
Traffic rules are there for a reason so you should follow them. Don’t cut off other cars, avoid tailgating, don’t leave your high beam headlights on, and don’t drive slowly on the left lane.
Oh boy, the comments on this tip are always colorful. You might be tempted to blame others here: “no one else uses etiquette”, “it’s not me, all the other drivers aren’t following the rules”, “if more divers followed the rules of the road, then we wouldn’t have so much road rage in the first place.”
These statements are all outward focused. There is nothing you can do to change how others drive, but you can be an example of a calm, good driver. These are tips to avoid your road rage, so we must focus on you! Forget the other drives and do your best to follow the rules of the road.
4. Don’t be rude even if others are.
These days, we are more connected than ever, and yet, we feel more disconnected than ever. Remember that each driver you see has a story, a life, and love ones. Take that into consideration before you flip someone off, or tailgate the driver ahead of you. You may not know what others are going through at all.
If you’ve done something wrong, be quick to apologize by waving your hand or simply smiling. And if other drivers are rude to you, don’t use your horn or yell at them to avoid igniting a potential road rage fight.
As mentioned in the facts section, 50% of people who are the victims of road rage, will respond with road rage and become the aggressors themselves. Road rage is contagious. But it can end with you.
Consider the lives of others. And remember, this is water!
5. Respond properly to a road situation.
Not everyone who makes mistake on the road mean them, so always give the benefit of the doubt. Don’t be too aggressive to respond to another driver and causing an altercation because you could risk getting injured or killed by someone you don’t know.
This road rage avoidance technique is closely related to the previous tip. You can only control how you react to situations. Do your best not to give in to anger! If at all do not react to other drivers, just continue your way and avoid speeding.
If a slow driver is bothering you, slowly, while following the rules of the road, pass them.
6. Condition yourself with a breath mint
Okay who put this in here? How is a breath mint going to help? Of all the tips to avoid your road rage, a breath mint is one?
Trust the system! A breath mint can be a paradigm shifter. IT offers a quick and easy shock to the cognitive pattern you are in. If you find that your road rage happens too fast for you to anticipate, then go get yourself some strong breath mints.
Next time you are about to get angry or curse the world, pop a few in your mouth. Focus on the taste, on the smell, and on the way, it feels in your mouth. This is a grounding exercise that will bring you back down to reality, and away from rage.
7. Pullover and breath
Your life, your mental health, and your overall well-being are more important than any meeting, any appointment, or any date. If you find yourself completely lost in the moment, suckered in by rage, then it may be a good idea to reset.
Find a safe place to catch your breath. Pullover into a station or parking lot and take a few deep breaths. If you are running late, then what’re a few extra minutes going to matter anyway?
Take time to get yourself under control before you move on.
Remember That Your Life Matters
Finally, if you get into the middle of a road rage attack, never hesitate to call 911 right away. Don’t take matters into your hands to avoid putting yourself in danger.
You can also report aggressive drivers to your road rage hotline if you have one in your state. Never confront an aggressive driver because it’s not your job to do so. Call the authorities and let them handle the situation the right way.
And if you were involved in a crash, then call a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Even if you’re driving a sleek sports car, the road isn’t the right place to show off your car’s speed. Never turn the highway into a racetrack to avoid causing harm to yourself and others.
Winning in driving is getting home safely and not teaching others how to drive fast or showing off that your car is better than theirs.