We all love getting behind the wheel; it gives us the freedom to get out and about, go to work and have fun with our friends. Unfortunately, it can also be pretty stressful at times, and put drivers under a lot of pressure. In order to keep yourself and those around you safe you need to be in a relaxed, focused state of mind, and getting stressed out or angry is a big no no. We’ve come up with some top tips to keep you calm next time you get behind the wheel.
Get into the right mindset
ROSPA recommends that one way to avoid road rage is by making sure that you’re in the right mood to drive before you set off. They say that “when we are emotionally upset or psychologically caught up in something else, we are not able to give the road our full attention and so, do not drive safely.” Trying to make sure that you are in a calm, good mood before driving is a good way to avoid any unnecessary rage further down the line.
Beverly Flaxington, a lecturer at Suffolk University, told Psychology Today that a good way to combat road rage is by remembering that you can’t change someone’s behaviour. “One of the reasons we rant at drivers is to “show them who’s boss and teach them a thing or two.” Guess what? You can’t,” she explains. Instead of charging over to shout at someone, try and take a minute to think about this simple point – you might find that it’s all that it takes to calm you down if another driver has got on your nerves.
Focus on yourself
The bottom line is that we don’t know everything about the people we encounter on the roads, so all that we can control is the way we drive. Focus on making sure that you keep yourself safe rather than getting mad at other drivers.
If you do get into an altercation with another driver, try to stay calm and think logically. Making rude gestures or yelling is only going to make the situation worse and make everyone angrier. Plus it can distract you from the road. Avoid competing with another driver as this can distract you further and escalate situations.
Stay out of the way
The best tactic is usually to maintain a safe speed and move aside, if it is safe to do so, to allow the other driver to go around you. Dr Leon James, from DrDriving.com, told CNN that “If another driver is endangering you or his actions are threatening to cause a smash, the best tactic is avoidance.” Always make sure that you check your mirrors and know it is safe before you move.
If you think you have made another driver angry by mistake, ROSPA recommends holding up your hand as a friendly apology to diffuse the situation.
The key to avoiding road rage is to ensure that you are a safe, smart, peaceful driver who is considerate to other road users. After all, if everyone was considerate there would be no road rage at all. Wouldn’t that be nice?