We all have places to be and a certain amount of time to get there, often not enough time. This stress paired with distracted drivers around us, who might make driving decisions we don’t agree with, is enough to induce road rage.
The nicest people out there sometimes give in to road rage on a bad day. For others, the rage is a daily occurrence. Simply put, road rage can be defined as a motorist's uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist's irritating act and is expressed in aggressive or violent behavior. The violent behavior could be gestures, following, honking, yelling, etc.
With hundreds of thousands on the roads every day in Tennessee and Kentucky, it’s crucial that we control our emotions no matter what happens to us on the roads. We can’t control other people’s actions, but we are responsible for doing our part to de-escalate situations when possible.
Today, we’re giving you 8 tips to help you avoid road rage:
- Give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going. If running out of time stresses you out, give yourself an extra five minutes no matter where you’re going.
- Listen to music. Turn on relaxing music in the car rather than music that puts you in a fast-driving or aggressive mood.
- Make your car comfortable. Don’t be cheap, make your car a comfortable place to be. Many of us spend up to two hours in the car every day, so turn the air on high if it’s hot, and turn the heat on if it’s cold. A comfortable car will help you stay calm!
- Act like someone else is in the car with you. We tend to behave better when there is another person in the car with us, whether it’s our children or spouse. If this applies to you, then act like someone is in the car with you all the time!
- Don’t take it personal. I have seen someone change lanes and almost hit someone because they simply did not see them. Other honest mistakes happen on the road, and it doesn’t mean the driver is out to get you personally. The event would have happened if someone else was there instead of you. Even if the act was careless or caused by distracted driving and not an honest mistake, it was most likely not personal or targeted at you. Keep your pride in check, and give other drivers the benefit of the doubt.
- Pull over if you have to. If you feel your blood pressure rising and you want to retaliate, just pull over. Let out some steam by taking a few deep breaths or getting out of your car to walk around for a minute. When you feel calm, get back in your car and go on your way.
- Think about the consequences before you act. Road rage can make people do dangerous things like weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, flashing lights, and even assaulting other drivers. These actions can carry tremendous consequences if they lead to damage to property or bodily injury. Is road rage really worth it?
- Don’t intentionally give someone else a reason to be angry. It’s just as important to not BE the cause of someone else’s road rage. Be sure to drive responsibly by not tailgating, driving distracted, or driving under the influence.
Remember, it’s likely not a huge deal if you arrive at your destination a few minutes later than you planned. Try not to let one moment today wreck your week or month by doing something you regret while angry on the road.