8 Tips for Conquering Road Rage

Tailgating, speeding, and weaving in and out of traffic — these are the kinds of things that drive motorists crazy. Some drivers respond to these frustrating situations by getting angry and driving aggressively. This behavior is known as road rage, and it's characterized by any display of aggression, including deliberate dangerous driving, verbal insults, and rude gestures, as well as intentionally causing a collision, damaging a vehicle, or worse, physically assaulting a driver. In fact, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there are approximately 1,200 road rage-related deaths reported each year in the United States. If you're one of the millions of people who can't fight the urge to flip off other drivers or tailgate the slowpokes, check out these eight tips to get your road rage under control.

  1. Turn up the jams:

    Sometimes you just have to drown out your road rage with music. Blaring aggressive death metal or hardcore rap will probably only make it worse, so try to stick with soothing and uplifting music. Turn up the volume, nod your head, and sing along, and before you know it, you'll forget all about that jerk who cut you off five minutes ago. Mission accomplished!

  2. Make a mental checklist:

    Thinking about all of the things you need to do during the week will help take your mind off of the terrible drivers around you and put things back into perspective. Reminding yourself of all your to-dos and thinking out your day can occupy your mind for a nice chunk of time and give you a positive surge of energy.

  3. Pull over:

    If road rage has got you down, pull over and take a breather. It doesn't matter if you pull off on the shoulder or pull into a drive-thru for a soda; just remove yourself from the situation and try again when your road rage is under control. This exercise will keep you from completely losing it and putting yourself or anyone else in danger.

  4. Meditate:

    Now don't go closing your eyes! It is possible for you to perform a modified form of meditation and drive safely at the same time. When you feel the road rage rising, hang up the phone, turn off the music, and drive in silence. Relax your muscles and take several slow, deep breaths. Choose a mantra you can say aloud or silently in your head. "I am free from anger" or "kindness … kindness … kindness," for example.

  5. Accept your driving faults:

    Were you following too closely behind a driver? Was passing them necessary? Did you give enough notice before cutting them off? Were you distracted? These are the types of questions all drivers should ask themselves. Before you take your frustrations out on another driver, think about your driving strengths and weaknesses and what you could have done to avoid these frustrations. Accepting your driving faults is an important step in conquering road rage and can make you a better driver overall.

  6. Be polite and courteous:

    Sharing the road with bad drivers is hard to do. Giving a smile or an apologetic wave when you cut someone off or vice-versa is even harder. Being polite and courteous on the road will help avoid unnecessary road rage and prevent conflict between you and another driver. Even if the other driver is not being considerate, you should practice being the "bigger person" and you'll be one step closer to conquering road rage.

  7. Plan ahead:

    Planning out your drive and thinking ahead can help reduce your driving stress and prevent unnecessary road rage. Allow yourself plenty of time to get where you are going, have directions ready, study the road conditions, and listen to weather reports before you leave home. After you do this, you'll know what to expect on your commute and can drive more patiently and confidently.

  8. Drive safely:

    Some drivers may never follow the rules of the road, but that doesn't mean you should disregard them too. Road rage makes your driving worse and puts you and other motorists in a heap of danger. Obeying the speed limit, keeping a safe distance, and staying calm and alert will help you be a better driver, therefore reducing the chances of road rage and other aggressive driving behavior.

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