How to cope with road rage

We’ve all been there, sat in traffic or happily driving along before someone comes along getting in the way, cutting you up or forcing you to slam on the brakes. For some reason it’s incredibly easy to launch into a tirade of four-letter words, but what’s the point?

Road rage serves no real purpose, it puts you in a terrible mood, causes more problems than it will ever solve and in some cases could even land you in real trouble.

So how do you steer yourself out of trouble when that red mist descends? We’ve got some tips to try.

Avoid the causes

One of the best ways to avoid road rage is to sidestep the causes of it. Plan trips ahead of time and avoid routes that include problem traffic hotspots, roadworks and any of the other minor inconveniences that can ruin the good mood you set off in. Calm detours and not rushing everywhere helps to bring down stress levels and stop you feeling agitated while you drive.

Sat-navs that can provide real-time updates are huge help, they can give you a clearer picture of what lies ahead on your route and help you to avoid any nasty surprises while you’re driving, helping you to feel more in-control while you complete your journey.

It’s always a good idea to listen to music that you love to improve your mood whilst out and about.


Look at how you’re driving

Think about the things that really wind you up while you’re driving. People tailgating you, people not indicating, when someone doesn’t respect right of way, the list goes on. I’s important in these situations to stay calm. It’s worth counting to 10 before reacting emotionally to any road rage situation. However, on the flip side to this, it’s also important to look at how you’re driving and make sure you aren’t being a bit of a hypocrite.

What’s the point in trying to keep yourself calm when you’re enraging everyone else? You’re just giving the road rage a new target.

What’s sometimes referred to as ‘Defensive Driving’, could be the answer. This is when you leave enough space, stay as aware of your surroundings as possible and communicate what you’re doing to other drivers with plenty of time for them to react.

Woman operating an electric car

Let cooler heads prevail

Sometimes it’s really hard to stay calm, everyone has things going on in their lives and it sometimes just takes a sudden inconvenience like when you’re driving to bring it all to the surface.

Being more understanding and also more in tune with how you’re feeling can be a great way to help yourself stay calmer. There are exercises and mindfulness tips that can help you to stay calmer while you drive:

  • Breathe – one of the best ways to calm yourself down in tense situations is to take deep breaths.
  • Let go of things you can’t control – if something has annoyed you, but then the source of that frustration has passed or more likely, driven away, let it go. There’s nothing you can do about it now, so don’t let it bother you.
  • Focus on the task at hand – remember you’re operating heavy machinery. Instead of getting angry focus on staying safe and driving properly. Use the fact you’re driving as a distraction from getting mad. If you need an added boost, try turning on some music or a podcast while you’re driving.


De-escalate awkward situations

It doesn’t hurt to be nicer. When you’re driving and you can feel road rage rearing its ugly head you should try and avoid honking, shouting, or using one of the globally recognised gestures for showing someone you’re angry. You also shouldn’t engage anyone who is showing this behaviour and instead move on with your journey.

Try being more considerate, it helps to reduce tension and create a nicer driving experience. That means acknowledging the considerate drivers too, remember, everyone loves a cheery wave when they’ve let you pull out.

Coping with road rage will be different for different people, purely because how we handle being angry won’t be the same for everyone. But, with our simple tips you should be able to enjoy some more serene time behind the wheel.

Take the stress out of travel

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