We’ve all been there before. We’re driving along, minding our own business, when someone cuts us off. Or runs a stoplight. Or is driving 20 miles under the speed limit. When things like this happen, it’s natural to be annoyed or even angry, but some people go well beyond “angry” in their responses and lash out at other drivers when things aren’t going their way on the road.
When people suffer from road rage, they often end up becoming more of an annoyance and a danger to the drivers around them than whatever it was that made them angry. If you’ve ever suffered from road rage or struggled to control your anger while driving, our online traffic school instructors have some helpful tips for how to stay calm.
Listen to Soothing Music
If you feel your blood starting to boil when you’re on the road, one of the easiest ways to keep yourself calm is to put on music you enjoy. If there’s a mellow or soothing song that you like in particular, even better. Music can have a surprisingly strong effect on people’s moods, and it’s much easier to forget about the things that are making you angry when you’re listening to something you enjoy and have positive feelings about instead.
Put Distance Between Yourself and the Other Driver
If there’s one driver in particular who is making your angry, then it’s a good idea to create space between you and them. We always recommend at least a two second following distance in our courses in good driving conditions. That may need to be increased to 4 or 8 in more hazardous conditions (rain, snow, night, etc.) Whether this means passing a troublesome driver and leaving them behind you or slowing down to let them get away, resist the urge to get close to them and let them know how you feel.
While it may feel like venting at the person who’s making you angry would be cathartic, the way road rage incidents can escalate shows that it often has the opposite effect. Since it’s very hard to talk to someone in another car when both are moving, it can become all too easy to let your displeasure be known through aggression toward other drivers. It is important to come from the realization that no matter what you do, you are cannot teach the other driver a lesson. You may be letting them know that you aren’t happy about something they might have did or are doing, but that accomplishes nothing. Act like the adult on the road in all situations. You will be safer for it.
Avoid Eye Contact with the Other Driver
One of the reasons it’s so easy to get angry while driving is because of how impersonal interactions with other drivers are. Not only do we not know the people who are making us mad, but we’re separated from them by distance, speed, and large metal vehicles.
This is also one of the good things about driving—because it makes it easier to let go. It’s a lot harder to stay mad at someone whom you don’t know and at whose face you never got a good look.
Additionally, making prolonged eye contact in a hostile situation is often interpreted as a hostile action and causes us to subconsciously escalate our anger. Instead of challenging other drivers, keep your eyes on the road and ignore them as much as possible.
Want more great driving tips or do you need an online traffic school course? Contact us today at (800) 558-9887.