Whether you experience anger while driving or are on the receiving end of some other person’s aggression, road rage can be a big problem. Not only does driving while in a fury make people upset, but it can also cause accidents. Understanding how to curb road rage can make driving enjoyable, instead of a nightmare.
The right frame of mind
Studies show that people often experience what they think they will. Therefore, if you get into your car expecting to undergo a fraught journey in which you encounter bad drivers who make you mad, that is exactly what is likely to happen. Change your expectations however, and you leave yourself open to the possibility of seeing things differently. Instead of looking for troublesome experiences, you can focus more on enjoying driving.
While it is probably not a good idea to practice deep relaxation when driving, as you need to remain alert to drive safely, arming yourself with methods of achieving calm can still be useful. There are many ways to achieve a sense of peace when driving.
Counting to ten when you feel your temper rising can give you time to calm down and whatever is bothering you to end. Most things that send you into a rage are likely to pass in a matter of seconds. If, however, a longer period of feeling agitated is on the cards, consider making counting to ten last longer by adding a peaceful word after each number. For example, “one, gentle, two, relax.”
Another beneficial calming exercise is to count your blessings rather than numbers. It is hard to be terribly angry when you remember the things you are grateful for and think about people you love.
While you are driving, the inside of your car is the main environment you experience. By making sure your car in not cluttered, is clean and smells delightful, you can reduce your stress when driving. Filling your car with a scent that makes you feel good can help put you in a good mood. For example, if drinking a cup of coffee usually helps you feel relieved of anxiety, try keeping some freshly ground coffee beans in your car to stimulate peaceful feelings.
If a bad driver is annoying you or driving recklessly, and thus endangering you, you may feel justified in ranting and raving at them. Most likely, in such a situation, you will see them as having made you become angry. However, it is important to remember that how you respond to other people, even when they are behaving idiotically, is a choice. No one has the ability to make you feel anything or behave in a particular way. They may push emotional buttons you already have, but you still have the ability to decide how to respond.
It can be useful to go through potentially frustrating situations you could experience while driving before you get into your car. Thinking of alternative responses to getting angry will help provide choices from which to select if a real situation like the imagined one occurs on the road. For example, if the driver behind you blinds you with the full beam of their cars headlights, previously you may have started waving your arms, shouting and making aggressive gestures at them. Alternative responses to choose from would be pulling over and letting them pass or slowing down so they overtake. Either option would be better than getting furious and behaving aggressively.
As a driver, you will sometimes encounter other road users who upset you. This is inevitable. However, by, altering your expectations, managing your reactions, making your car’s interior peaceful and utilizing calming exercises your road rage can become a thing of the past.