Keeping Your Cool: Understanding ‘Road Rage’ and How to Prevent It


Trust us…we’re in California, so we understand how frustrating driving can be. With millions of vehicles on the road every day, and each driver with his or her own agenda about where they “must go” and “when they must get there”, it’s incredible that there aren’t more on road issues than we already witness. But, as our freeways and surface streets become more congested with each passing year, understanding that we’ll be sharing the road for the rest of time is an important piece of putting together the “anti-road rage” puzzle. But, hey, we’re human, and when somebody cuts us off (without waving, mind you…we’re fans of the wave), it’s tough to avoid the welling up of emotion usually resulting in laying on the horn and telling the other driver just where you think they rank on the nation’s list of incredible drivers.

So, with all of this in mind, we decided to create your “Road Rage Guide”, to help you avoid spending hours during your weekly commute simmering with a reddened face:

Be Like Fonzie...

We love Quentin Tarantino, largely in part because his dialogue in films is great, but never forget the words that Samuel L. Jackson told us, and we’re paraphrasing here: “Be like Fonzie…how was Fonzie? That’s right, Fonzie was cool.”

In all seriousness, keeping your cool while driving helps to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of everyone around you. Studies have proven that when you’re angry, your decision making deteriorates. But, do we really need a study to remind us of that fact? We’ve all experienced unhealthy anger at some point in our lives, and when we are “seeing red”, we often say and do things that simply do not match the severity of the situation. While on the road, keep your cool, and always be sure to remind yourself of the time last month when you cut somebody else off…

Here are a few links about anger’s impact on your tension level and driving abilities:

http://hbr.org/2010/09/how-anger-poisons-decision-making/ar/1

http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/Trans/hpw105-34.000/hpw105-34_0f.htm

Recognizing the Symptoms

Look, getting angry when someone almost hits your vehicle on a freeway isn’t “odd”. In fact, it’s quite normal. However, there are times when drivers get “set off” by something occurring while on the road, and suddenly, everything that has angered them in recent weeks rushes to the surface and explodes. There are varying degrees of road rage, and knowing when you’re losing your cool can be a huge factor in preventing angry outbursts and ensuring your safety behind the wheel.

Here are some links that outline specific things to look for:

http://www.wsp.wa.gov/traveler/roadrage.htm

http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/issues/92004/PDFS/RoadRage.pdf

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=43667

Take Initiative to Calm Yourself

Again, we aren’t psychologists, and no one is saying that anger isn’t healthy at times. Instead, we are just looking out for you while you’re on the road! Learning calming techniques when behind the wheel can do wonders for your morning and evening commutes, as well as giving you some nice tools to use any other time you’re feeling a bit stressed.

While driving, relaxing music can work wonders for a mood. And, by simply electing to “take your time” and enjoy the drive, even if you’re looking at concrete dividers for an hour, you can help diffuse any road rage feelings before they ever occur.

Check out these calming techniques that can be a great asset tomorrow morning:

http://www.illinoisvehicle.com/_blog/English/post/5_Tips_for_Calming_Road_Rage/

http://empoweringwellnessnow.com/de-stressing-your-commute-turning-road-rage-into-road-sage/

So, there you have it! Road rage is becoming increasingly common, with some unfortunate tales resulting tragically. Always remember that we have to share the road, whether we like it or not, so being “cut off” is to be expected. Practice some calming techniques, do your best to maintain your composure, and always remember: sometimes, somebody cutting in front of you was just an accident, and they probably are as embarrassed about it as you are upset.

For more on road rage, check out this great video from HowCast:

Drive safely, everyone!


Written by: Go-Parts | Sean Kennedy | Email |