5 Tips For Coping With Road Rage

Road rage is a serious issue facing drivers today.Here are five ways to cope with anger and frustration on the road.

Many drivers have logged so many hours behind the wheel that the act of driving may feel routine.But in reality driving a car from point A to point B can be one of the most stressful acts of an average day.Drivers are faced with any number of hidden stressors, such as potential mechanical problems, unexpected delays and discourteous fellow drivers.There's no better feeling than opening a car door at the end of a safe commute, and no worse feeling than facing an angry driver during a fender bender.

All of those hidden stressors can lead to the phenomenon known as 'road rage'.Some drivers become irrationally angry at others who violate (or appear to violate) common rules of the road. This rage can build up until the driver become reckless or blinded by anger.The obvious danger with road rage is the effect it has on other drivers.Angry drivers become aggressive drivers, which could mean speeding or deliberate contact or hostile confrontations with the original offender.No one is completely immune to feelings of road rage, either.Even the calmest person can become overcome with anger if another driver's behavior leads to a near-accident.This is due to all of those hidden stressors- most drivers understand that no car trip is routine, and it only takes one miscalculation to end up injured or dead.Driving is a serious job, but there is a definite line between a defensive attitude and irrational road rage.Here are five tips on how to deal with the effects of road rage:

1. Learn to drive proactively, not aggressively. Many instance of road rage are caused by sudden surprises- another driver cuts in front of you, a car suddenly stops, a turn signal is not provided. Having to react so quickly to a threatening situation can trigger a sudden outburst of anger. The immediate situation may no longer matter, but the offending driver 'needs to be taught a lesson'.

Instead of driving so aggressively that potential problems can't be anticipated, practice driving proactively instead.Assume that the driver ahead of you is completely distracted by the radio.The driver behind you is determined to tailgate you.All of the other drivers on the other side of the road are sleep-deprived or impaired.Any one of them could cross the median. With this defensive driving mentality, you can anticipate most minor traffic infractions.If the driver behind you DOES crowd your space, you can anticipate a sudden pass.If the driver ahead fails to signal, you can cover your brake quickly.Without a sudden shock to the system, you should be able to handle most driving decisions without excessive stress.

2. Never drive a car while emotionally impaired.In the same sense that an intoxicated person should allow someone else to drive, an emotional driver should find someone else to operate his or her vehicle or wait until the emotions have subsided.Some cases of road rage have little to do with the road, but everything to do with the driver's mental state before starting out.What could have been a minor situation between two drivers can escalate to a road rage incident if one of the drivers is already at a emotional boiling point.If you're not sure about your own state of mind, ask someone else to do the driving until you can maintain your temper in traffic conditions.

3. Be prepared to change your destination if road rage occurs.If you suspect another driver is deliberately stalking you, be ready to drive into a densely populated area for protections.If you know where the local law enforcement offices are located, drive in that direction.Drivers controlled by road rage will often follow the other party for miles to seek 'justice'.It's usually safer to drive past your home or place of work in order to avoid future confrontations.When you do decide to stop your vehicle, do not confront the other driver.Instead, run to the nearest public phone or business and call 911 for assistance.Angry drivers may cause damage to your vehicle, but you'll be safer in a crowd.Memorize all pertinent information about the driver and his vehicle.

If you find yourself caught up in a rage, pull off the road and take a long break.It's frustrating to be cut off in traffic or nearly sideswiped by an inattentive driver, but nothing actually happened.You're not filling out police reports or watching your wrecked car get towed away.None of your passengers were hurt.You have nothing to gain by stalking another driver- a driver who may be even angrier than you are and not afraid of a little confrontation.Let it go and continue with your original plans.

4. Feel free to vent, but don't antagonize.A driver may run a red light directly in front of you or suddenly cut into your lane without signaling.If you feel the urge to scream your displeasure at the top of your lungs, you have every right to vent.Your passengers may not appreciate every word you select, but you're in your own element at least.What you don't want to do is antagonize the other driver.No one wants to receive an obscene hand gesture or be on the receiving end of a loud horn blast.Whatever problems you may have with another driver's behavior, keep it within perspective.Resist the temptation to follow another driver or pull even with them in order to deliver a personal invective.

5. Consider other forms of transportation if driving becomes too stressful.Driving in big city traffic is always going to be a challenge. There's no practical way to stop other drivers from making bad decisions.If you realize your stress level rises during your daily commute, try taking the bus or train or carpool.Let someone else take on the stresses of driving and concentrate on your other daily activities.Plan your personal trips for times when traffic is lower and time is not as much of a concern.Drivers who are prone to road rage might discover that their stress levels are connected to factors other than the driving itself.The benefits of not facing traffic every day may outweigh the few inconveniences of public transportation or carpooling.

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