How to Deal with Road Rage
Driving can be frustrating and stressful at times, especially when things don't go your way. With this, you might experience an emotional outburst called road rage. Thankfully, there are ways to stay cool, even from inside your vehicle.
Read on to learn what causes road rage and how to handle it, so you can keep a level head behind the wheel.
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Causes of Road Rage and What You Can Do About It
What Is Road Rage?
Have you experienced driving peacefully when suddenly, an aggressive driver cuts you off? You might have murmured some swear words or even sped up to confront that person. What you've felt is called road rage.
According to Merriam-Webster, road rage pertains to uncontrolled anger that's typically triggered by another driver's infuriating actions. It refers to the outrage you feel when other motorists caused you trouble or inconvenience.
According to a 2019 survey, almost 80% of drivers showed irritation and hostility at least once while they're driving. In fact, more than half of fatal car accidents from 2003 to 2007 were due to aggressive driving.
Road rage is manifested through antagonistic or violent behavior. Keep in mind to refrain from doing these, as the results of your actions can be dangerous.
Different Types of Road Rage
Everybody's different, so reactions toward these circumstances might vary from person to person. When faced with aggressive situations, you might catch yourself doing one of these common road rage forms:
- Deliberately cutting off other drivers
- Making angry gestures
- Getting out of your car to challenge another motorist
- Honking in anger
- Driving on sidewalk
- Blocking other cars from switching lanes
- Purposely hitting another car
What Causes Road Rage
Fear is probably one of the main reasons why drivers have extreme road rage reactions.
Just imagine this — while you're driving, another motorist suddenly cuts you off. You'd feel that your life has been put in danger or at risk. You'd feel afraid or nervous, which is a natural response to stressful situations.
When you feel frightened, your body is flooded with hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. As a result, you have more energy. And if you don't know how to manage that extra energy, the tendency is you'd snap and scream at other people.
The Antidote: Tell Yourself That You're Okay
If you remind yourself that you're not hurt, you're cool, and you're safe over and over again, you'd eventually feel better. On the other hand, if you keep thinking that everything's not okay, you'd just get heated, and your anger would escalate.
The more you tell yourself that everything's all right, the more your body would accept it. However, remember that these words don't work instantly like a magic pill. You have to say it to yourself several times before you start feeling calm and relaxed.
Just like when you're preparing for a sports competition, it takes practice to train your mind and body to successfully execute a move. Similarly, if you keep rehearsing and saying phrases such as “It's okay” or “I'm cool”, you teach your brain to think that you're really safe and that no accident actually happened.
In time, you'll notice that you're getting used to it, and you won't even have to think about your response. The next time that a near accident would occur, you'll just say “I'm safe” and “It's okay” naturally.
2. Living In Cartoon World
Cartoon world refers to the kind of world wherein things work the way you want them to be. In this world, you think that no one should cut you off, and no one should drive slowly. However, that's not the case here in the real world.
When you set your expectations based on your cartoon world, you won't live in reality. So when other motorists break your imaginary cartoon world rules, you easily get heated, instead of having a mindset that everyone commits mistakes.
The Antidote: Align Your Expectations with Reality
Once you step foot into your car, acknowledge the fact that a lot of drivers will make errors or inconveniences on the road. Anticipate that there might be construction or traffic jams when you're in a hurry and late for a meeting.
Additionally, some motorists might cut you off, and others might drive slowly. Think about all things that could possibly happen.
Besides, throughout your driving experience, you've committed numerous errors. The difference is that you tend to downplay your mistakes.
In addition, practice empathy and don't be quick to judge. Put yourself in other people's shoes. If someone's driving slowly, he may not know the directions and might be lost.
Instead of highlighting the faults of others, prepare yourself, and align your expectations with reality. Don't throw your day out the window just because someone committed a mistake on the road.
3. Taking Things Personally
When you accidentally make an error while driving, it's not your intention to do and act that way to other drivers. But how come when another person does it to you, it suddenly becomes something personal or an attack?
You'd think that they're mistreating and disrespecting you, so the tendency is you'd lash out, and you'd go hard on them. This is where road rage comes in.
The Antidote: Stop Taking Things Personally
When other drivers miscalculate on the road, remember that it's not about you. They aren't targetting you, and you don't have to take everything personally. Learn how to set your ego aside.
Remind yourself that nobody's perfect, they just made a mistake, nobody's out to get you, and you're fine.
One way to transform how you feel about road rage is by meditating. Here's a video of road rage remedy meditation by Bad Yogi Yoga:
Road rage can happen to anyone, anywhere. Just keep in mind that at the end of the day, we're all humans, and we all commit mistakes. Practice being more mindful when you're out on the road, so you can control yourself and bring peaceful energy.
Apart from these ways to deal with road rage situations, do you have other tips to remain calm while driving? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!
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