Curbing Your Road Rage to Protect Your Family
It has been a long but fun-filled day at North Beach with the family. You’re all a little worn out, hungry, and dazed from playing in the lake—but you’re finally headed back home. Unfortunately, it is rush hour and it takes you 15 minutes on Lake Shore just to get to the on ramp. Suddenly, an SUV comes barreling up the side of the road behind you. He never once slows down as he passes all the cars behind you, and as he approaches you and the on-ramp, he skids off the road just to get ahead of you. When he finally merges onto 10, you watch as he forces two other cars to share the left lane as he continues without a care in the world.
In the span of 35 seconds, a single SUV managed to upset, frustrate, and scare about 20 people, all of which are currently surrounding you and your family. You try to stay calm and focused, but the rest of your drive home is tense and erratic as the cars behind you try to maneuver their way through the wake of the SUV and through their own road rage.
Tips to Curb Your Road Rage
Everyone experiences road rage once in a while; the trick is to not let it affect your driving. Employing simple stress relief and safety techniques can help curb your frustrations—at least for the time being—to make sure the anger you have for someone else’s mistake doesn’t cause an even larger accident. Here are a few examples:
- Take deep breaths – When another vehicle cuts you off or disregards traffic laws that cause you to get upset, instead of getting angry and trying to figure out how you can “pay him back,” take a long, deep breath. It may sound corny, but once you take a few seconds to center yourself, you’ll realize his stupidity isn’t worth putting yourself at risk.
- Scream therapy – Sometimes when someone upsets you—on the road or off—the best way to let it go is to take a second and vent your frustration. If no one else is in the car and you still feel agitated after taking a few deep breaths, let out a scream. It’s better to release adrenaline quickly, through a short burst, than it is to attempt to release it by driving like a maniac.
- Lead by example – Although other drivers may be oblivious to their surroundings, it does not mean you should be. If someone needs to change lanes, let them. If someone is trying to enter traffic, slow down—one more car ahead of you isn’t going to make a difference.
- Let it go! – Sometimes people make stupid decisions. No matter what you think may be their reasoning behind them, it does not matter—they did them. They were stupid and dangerous and you can’t do anything in retrospect. What you can do is protect yourself by letting it go.
There will always be people who think they are invincible, no matter the consequences. Unfortunately, not only do their actions put themselves at risk, they can cause an increased amount of road rage in the drivers around them. This road rage can then further increase the risk of you and your family suffering serious injuries. Do not perpetuate the danger. Stay calm, drive defensively, and stay safe.
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