Regular commuters are sure to see poor driving, but letting the negligence of other drivers become aggravating can lead to dangerous road rage.
If you find yourself making comments to other drivers, tailgating, or engaging in other aggressive behavior behind the wheel, try these techniques to keep your cool on the road.
Deep breathing can slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and improve your circulation to reduce anxious feelings and help you relax.
If you are feeling frustrated while driving, breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. Also remember to take these breaths from your diaphragm, not your chest.
Being mindful means focusing your attention on the here and now. Driving almost inherently detaches us from the present as we are often more focused on getting to where we are going.
However, on average, Americans spend 37,935 hours driving over a lifetime, according to a study done by the Harvard Health Watch. Embracing the experience of driving can help you accept the extra time it may take to slow your speed or wait at a stop light.
Set a standard for yourself to leave for your destination 15 minutes earlier than you absolutely need to. If you anticipate that high traffic, detours, or accidents may cause delay, add extra time. Allowing yourself time for unexpected events will prevent you from feeling anxious about being late and rushing through traffic.
Change your challenge
Instead of challenging yourself to get ahead of the other cars before the next exit, choose to challenge your patience instead. Prove to yourself that you have the endurance to drive in the “slow lane” or wait in line for the upcoming exit.
Remember that letting another car in front of you when two lanes merge into one is likely to give the other car only five seconds of extra time to reach their destination. Competing with other drivers only serves to raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of being involved in an accident.
Consider how noise may impact your mood
If talking to passengers distracts you, let them know that you want to remain calm and focused while driving and tell them how they can help.
Depending on your preference, you may choose to listen to spa music or stories to relax in your vehicle. Just make sure whatever you pick does not take your attention away from the road.
Handle conflict with maturity
When other drivers behave rudely, it can be tempting to lash out at them. But, reciprocating their aggressive or reckless behavior only escalates your risk of being involved in an accident.
Do not antagonize rude drivers and try to avoid them altogether. Change lanes, let the motorist pass or take a different route if necessary.
If you feel threatened, roll up your windows, lock your doors and do not exit your vehicle. If you fear the situation may become dangerous, call law enforcement for help.
Unfortunately, road rage happens. If you have suffered injuries in a road rage incident, contact a lawyer to discuss your case. You may be eligible for personal injury compensation.