When we talk about dealing with road rage, we often think about the “other guy.” It’s all the other drivers out there that are aggressive, rude, and an accident waiting to happen. But in this post, we’d like to remind you that we all have times when our emotions can get the better of us. It’s important to reflect that we aren’t immune from being that angry driver.
Here are a few tips to help you drive safe no matter what.
1. Leave earlier than you think. Often, we feel rushed because we didn’t anticipate the traffic now making us later by the minute. We challenge you to start leaving 5-10 minutes sooner than you think you need. In addition to making for a calmer commute, we bet you’ll be less tempted to speed, too.
2. Put on calm music. Some studies show that opting for calming music, such as classical, can help soothe your emotions and reduce the chance for road rage.
3. Humanize other drivers. It’s easy to just see cars and forget the very real drivers and passengers inside. Here’s an idea to help. Invent stories about the other drivers. For example, the guy that just cut you off? Perhaps he’s trying to get to the hospital to visit a family member. The person failing to signal? Maybe it’s a new teen driver who is still gaining valuable experience.
4. If you need a moment, pull off the road. Suppose you had a really rough day at work or just received bad news. For times like these, you may need a few minutes to calm down before getting behind the wheel. Go for a walk, grab a cup of water, phone a friend.
5. Get good sleep. Everything is harder when we’re tired. If you’re chronically tired, it may take some diligent work to change your sleep habits and adjust your schedule. But the gift of good sleep will extend beyond being a safer driver.
Finally, remember that we all make mistakes. Extend the same kind of grace to others you’d like give you when you mess up. Whatever the case, road rage is never the answer. Don’t make a decision that could have permanent consequences for temporary emotions. Drive safe!