Driving Stress: Put The Brakes On Your Road Rage
Have you ever committed an act of road rage or maybe wanted to? Before you run that little old lady off the road, read this article!
Have you ever committed an act of road rage? Like many people, I thought it was something that just happened to someone else. Then, suddenly, one day I found myself hurling abuse as a little old lady cut me up on my way to work! Looking back on my encounter with rage, it is even more astounding to learn that although she was driving incredibly slowly, I arrived at work a mere five minutes later than usual! Hardly worth running her off the road for I?m sure you?ll agree.
I was actually quite shocked to learn that the UK has the second-worst road rage in the world after South Africa with over 80% of drivers being involved in road rage incidents. 25% have committed an act of road rage themselves and men are three times more likely to commit an aggressive act than women. In America, more than 1,000 people die as a result of a road rage incident every year!
These startling facts got me thinking about simple measures which we can take to reduce the number of incidents we are involved in. As men, we are much more likely to commit such an act and for that reason it is down to us to acknowledge our involvement and take the appropriate steps to fight road rage.
Fact ? Road Rage Increases Your Stress Levels
It?s no secret that driving aggressively and reacting to other drivers on the road increases your stress levels. What you may not know is that up to 60% of all absences from work are caused by stress. That?s about 270,000 people in the UK alone that take time off every day because of stress.
So we know that driving causes stress and forces us to take time off work. We know that stress makes us depressed and affects our relationships, our social life and our health. How can we reduce this?
Stopping Road Rage Dead
I?ve come up with 5 tips which I think can help men (and women) to reduce their stress while driving which will avoid confrontation with other drivers that could ultimately lead to road rage.
Change the music you listen to in your car. This tip is the most effective for me personally and it?s actually quite simple. I listen to a classical music radio station when I?m driving for longer than 30 minutes. Classical music is soft and soothing and it can lower stress levels considerably. If classical music isn?t your thing, don?t fret. You can reduce stress levels by listening to any type of music which you consider soothing. Acoustic rock or jazz for example. Avoid heavy rock or aggressive music if you know that you?re susceptible to road rage.
Manage your journey time. If you leave barely enough time to get where you?re going, then you are more likely to speed and become more aggressive with drivers that get in your way. Add 15 minutes to your journey time so that delays such as stopping for fuel or slow moving traffic are less likely to make you late. More time means calmer driving and less chance for a road rage incident to occur.
Relax and breathe. Whenever you feel your temper rising (you can usually tell from the death grip you have on the steering wheel!) loosen your hold on the steering wheel and take a few deep breaths while counting to ten. This is a simple breathing technique that will release your stress and put you back into a more stable state of mind. If you?re driving for long periods of time (longer than 2 hours) take a break so that you can get out of the car and stretch your legs.
It?s not personal. Believe it or not, when that guy in the white van cut you up in busy traffic, he wasn?t doing it with the intention of making you mad! Chances are that unless you?re flashing your lights and honking your horn, they don?t even know that your stress levels are going through the roof! Isn?t it possible that they made a mistake and were simply in the wrong lane? Or they didn?t know where they were going? Whatever the reason, you need to realise that it?s not directly related to you. Don?t take it personally. It?s not a big deal. You need to learn to be a man and let it go.
Get forty winks. We?re all cranky if we haven?t slept well! If you?re not getting enough sleep before you drive then it goes without saying that you are a ticking time bomb. Lack of sleep leads to annoyance, resentment and anger. Getting yourself a good 6-8 hours sleep every night can reduce your stress and reduce your risk of causing a road rage incident.
To put road rage in perspective, is it really worth getting a criminal record and risking your career for causing a scene just because somebody cut in front of you in a line of traffic? I didn?t think so.
We?re all prone to losing our temper from time to time, but using these tips to plan ahead and keep things in perspective, we can put the brakes on driving stress to ensure not only our own safety, but the safety of those around us.