Roads are getting busier and crowded as the years go on. And every year that passes, we get sicker, more anxious, and more stressed than ever before. We are drowning in distractions, in the allure of bad lifestyle choices, and most of all, in stress. It’s no wonder we are getting aggressive on the road. But you must find ways to calm down on the road. If not for yourself, but for the safety of others, and for the peace of mind of your friends and family.
Getting stressed and agitated leads to road rage or accidents. It’s inevitable. One aggressive driving statistic we love to quote is that 66% of all accidents are caused by aggressive driving or road rage. That means that two-thirds of all accidents can be prevented if we all find a few ways to calm down on the road.
B.L.A.S.T. Bored. Lonely. Angry. Stressed. Tired.
If you find any of these moods are affecting you, you may be compromised when you get behind the wheel. If you find you are being influenced by three or more of these moods, then you will almost certainly drive aggressively. You should be prepared with a few ways to manage your stress while driving.
Although loud car horns, traffic jams tailgating, and aggressive driving are common on every road, in every trip anywhere in the world, there are ways to prevent road rage and stress from escalating.
Here are the 5 ways to calm down on the road to stay focused and present.
1. Be prepared. Make it a habit to research for traffic information, quickest route, alternate routes, and speed limits BEFORE the actual trip… especially if you are not familiar with the route.
Also, it is not good to drive with an empty stomach.
Have a cup of coffee at least before leaving as hunger or lower blood sugar level can cause irritation. Better grab something to eat, pull over, enjoy your meal, and resume driving. Planning ahead is always a good recipe for relaxed and stress-free driving. Being hangry is no excuse for causing an accident. You can’t explain that one to your car accident attorney.
2. Practice breathing techniques. If you notice that you are starting to feel anxious, agitated, or angry, take time to breathe deeply from your diaphragm.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Count up to 5 seconds in between breaths until your anger subsides.
3. Listen to music. Entertain or distract yourself with some soothing music at low to medium range. Always choose the music that you like, but refrain from playing loud music as it can cause distraction. As much as heavy metal and a little bit of Metallica might be your go-to jam, consider something a little more soothing as one of the ways to calm down on the road.
Instrumental music or music of nature sounds is a great way to entertain yourself while increasing focus while driving. If you are traveling with friends or family with a different choice of music, you can politely explain that listening to loud music or something you do not like can cause stress.
4. Make use of the calming effects of lotions, breath mints, or car fresheners. Regardless if it is a short or long trip, do not forget to purchase a car freshener of lavender, citrus, peppermint, or vanilla scent.
These scents promote calming and increased focus effects. Anger, frustration, anxiety can be reduced through these scents where are available in a variety of forms. When in doubt, pop a fresh breath mint and try to focus on the cool feeling in your mouth as you maintain better breathing.
5. Share the road. Giving is better than receiving. Studies have shown that the more considerate you are, the more you give, then the better you feel. If you feel anger or stress taking hold of your drive, then try to push yourself into giving more.
Stay on your lane, avoid tailgating, and do not block other cars. You do not own the road, be considerate. Avoid the feeling of frustration or aggression just because someone is in front of you. Remember that fighting with other drivers on the road will not get you to your destination any quicker.
Do not forget that everyone is a good driver like you. Forgive, let go, and keep on driving.
Getting annoyed or frustrated for being stuck in traffic, being exposed to rude drivers or honking is a normal reaction, but it is important to remain calm, focused, and drive as safely as possible.
Remember that other people’s bad behavior should not ruin your beautiful day. You can always find more ways to calm down on the road, but you only get one shot to focus on getting there safely!