Keep Your Cool Behind the Wheel

Most people experience stressful situations while driving at some point or another. Whether it’s due to a traffic jam on your way to work, another vehicle that has accidentally cut you off on the highway, or a series of red lights that’s cutting into your commute time, we all have reasons to feel frustration occasionally while behind the wheel.

Still, responsible and polite driving requires us to learn how to tame these responses for the safety of ourselves and others on the road. If you find that you struggle to keep your cool while driving, you’re not alone. Below, we’ve compiled some simple tips and tricks that can help you reduce stress and promote good driving habits while faced with traffic and stressful events.

How to Avoid Road Rage and Stay Calm

Don’t let traffic and inconsiderate drivers ruin your day, or worse, create the circumstances for an accident. Stress can be a big problem when you are driving. It can lead to frustration, anger, and road rage. Here are a few ways to stay calm and in control when driving.

Counting

It’s hard to believe something so simple can be so effective, but this age-old remedy does help defuse stress. You can try counting slowly to ten, then repeating this practice a little bit slower each time.

Turn on Some Tunes

Everyone knows that music can directly influence your mood. Most people listen to music in the car, so it makes sense to use music to improve your mood while driving. The key is finding the right music for you. Ideally, you’ll want to choose listening material that keeps you calm while not posing a distraction to your concentration while driving.

Redefine the Situation

Rather than thinking of the traffic snarl as an obstacle to getting where you want to be, tell yourself it’s a welcome respite from work or a great opportunity to listen to your favorite radio show.

Avoid Angry Reactions

Don’t expect to eliminate every negative feeling. If you feel a flash of annoyance when a driver cuts you off, that’s okay – just move on to the next moment. This helps stop yourself from fuming over the other driver’s behavior, so a split-second of irritation doesn’t turn into full-blown road rage.

Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

When you start gripping the steering wheel like a vise, take some deep breaths. This is not only a proven technique to help you relax, but it’s also simple enough to do behind the wheel.

Know When to Seek Help

If you feel that you’re constantly struggling to control your responses to other drivers, it may be worth scheduling a chat with your doctor. Some medical professionals believe that a condition called intermittent explosive disorder may be responsible for episodes of loss of control or road rage.

In addition to these techniques, drivers do well to put into practice good driving skills, polite signaling to other motorists, and safe distance between other cars. By working to minimize dangerous situations, we can not only reduce our stress levels but also reduce the risk of an accident occurring.

How to Avoid an Aggressive Driver

Not all angry drivers display behavior that would be considered a traffic offense under the strict definition. However, it’s easy for a driver’s emotions to escalate to this point. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as “when individuals commit a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.”

Even if you yourself feel calm and collected amidst heavy traffic or adverse road conditions, there’s no way to control the behavior of other drivers. If you find yourself in a situation in which another person is demonstrating aggressive driving habits, you should take care to protect yourself and try to avoid escalating the situation.

Know the Warning Signs

An angry driver may display the following types of aggressive behavior:

  • Going over the speed limit
  • Intentionally cutting off other drivers in traffic
  • Following other drivers too closely or tailgating
  • Running red lights or failing to yield
  • Using rude gestures, yelling, or excessive honking
  • Swerving in and out of traffic lanes
  • Attempting to sideswipe other drivers

Report Aggressive Drivers

Avoid responding aggressively or engaging with the other driver, including making eye contact. You may be tempted to respond in kind to a driver that’s creating a scene, but you should try to lay off the horn and remain calm to the extent possible.

If you feel threatened by an enraged driver or road rage incident, don’t hesitate to report the situation to the proper authorities. Remember that this could potentially prevent an accident from happening to someone else, even if you manage to avoid one. If you are being followed by another motorist, drive to the nearest police station or another safe public location.

Aggressive Driving and Car Accidents

Aggressive drivers are threats to traffic safety everywhere. Aside from committing a criminal offense when engaging in reckless behavior on the road, instigators of road rage incidents are often the negligent parties behind catastrophic car accidents.

If you or someone you love is injured by someone’s aggressive driving behaviors, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Boohoff Law to learn about your legal options to seek compensation.

January 31, 2023
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