Friday, September 4, 2015

Preventing Road Rage

For years road rage has been highlighted in the media. When tempers have flared on the road, property has been damaged and people have been seriously injured or even killed. Thanks to an increasing number of individuals carrying phones that can record video, now more than ever we can see the dramatic effects of drivers losing their cool.

There are things you can do to prevent road rage and keep you and your loved ones safe as you go about your business. No matter how others behave on the road, by engaging in or avoiding certain activities you can avoid becoming the next victim or aggressor.

Always give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going, especially in rush hour. Everyone on the road has somewhere to be, not just you, so remember that as you sit in bad congestion. If you have given yourself ample time, you won't be worrying that your boss is going to fire you when you finally get to work, and you will be less agitated by slow-moving traffic. On a similar note, you should plan ahead and go to bed early so you can get enough rest for the following day, because being tired can also make you extra irritable.

Remember to give yourself breaks. If you are going to be driving a long distance, make regular stops and get out to stretch. Staying behind the wheel for too long will make it easier for you to become offended at other drivers' behavior, and potentially act on that offense in aggressive ways.

Keep things in perspective. People gain a certain sense of anonymity and invincibility when they are behind the wheel, which is why they are more apt to lash out when cut off on the road versus in the grocery store or elsewhere. By keeping that perspective and remembering that good etiquette should be exercised by you on the road as well as off, you will avoid doing something you will regret later.

Avoid increasing your tension while driving. Constantly gripping the steering wheel like it is a weapon will actually increase your stress level and dial up the possibility you will be in a confrontation on the road. So does listening to aggressive music and yelling at other drivers, even if they can't hear you calling them an idiot for not using a turn signal. Instead, listen to relaxing music and try to maintain a calm attitude as you are traveling.

Don’t do things to provoke other drivers. Some people use their horn constantly to let other drivers know they aren't happy with the way they're driving. The horn was designed to make others aware of your presence, not to give them a piece of your mind. Similarly, some drivers flash their headlights or, even worse, their brights at those they are upset with. Tailgating a car that is going too slow for your taste can trigger a confrontation, as can slamming on your brakes for no good reason when someone is tailgating you. Even worse is giving another driver the bird or shaking your first at them. Remember that you have no idea who other drivers on the road are or what they are capable of, so avoid provoking them at all costs.

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