How to stay calm on the road
So how do you stop it? How do you become calmer on the road?
In this article, we are going to look at some of the ways you can stay calmer on the road and reduce your road rage.
We want everything straight away. We are in a time of instant-gratification but on the road? Not so much. Leave some extra time for important journeys, the driver in front of you doesn’t know you need to be somewhere and it’s not their responsibility either. However, being late can make people irritable and can cause road rage.
Leave some extra time for getting to work or picking the kids up from school to minimise the chance of you getting angry at the person driving in front of you.
Turn your music down
Loud or fast-paced music can raise your heart-rate and lead you to drive more dangerously. This in turn, could cause road rage. Apparently, the worst songs to listen to while driving include “Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses and “Get Rhythm” by Johnny Cash. A study also found that listening to music you don’t like can cause stress, which can also cause road rage. You might be thinking ‘why would I listen to music I don’t like?’ but if you have a car full of friends, they may want to fiddle with the radio. At least now you have an excuse not to listen to their music.
Take deep breaths
Breathing affects your heart rate. So, if someone does something to annoy you on the road and you can feel your heart rate starting to creep up, take a deep breathe. Breathe in, pause for a few seconds and then breathe out. This will quite literally slow your heart rate down and will help you feel more calm and relaxed.
If you are making a journey that you haven’t made before then don’t just rely on your satnav on the day. Instead, plan your route on a computer or a map first and give yourself a rough idea of where you are going. If your satnav goes wrong then this can cause frustration and lead you to become angry.
Curb your hunger
We all know someone who gets seriously angry when they are hungry (or as the kids like to call it these days, hangry) and this is not ideal when you’re on the road. Make sure you don’t let your sugar levels drop as this can cause irritation and will do nothing for road rage. Refuel yourself when you refuel your car.
Share the road
You don’t own the road, and neither does anyone else. Everyone who is on the road shares it so remember that when you’re ready to fight over a small bit of space. When two lanes merge into one, it’s not the end of the world if you let someone in front of you. They will get to their destination five seconds quicker than you will. Fighting and refusing to let people in doesn’t help anyone and only serves to raise people’s blood pressure.
Also, be considerate to cyclists and horse riders, they have every right to be there too. Getting annoyed a cyclists will do nothing for your road rage, could do some serious damage, and even end up on Facebook.
Not everyone is a great driver all the time. People make mistakes and no doubt you’ve made a few mistakes when driving before. Be forgiving. Accept that not everyone will be a perfect driver all the time and you will ease your frustration. Remember, the other drivers around you are human too, they have families they want to get home to and places to be as well.
Also, if you’re getting annoyed because you are stuck in traffic due to an accident, stay calm and be thankful that you are not the one in the accident. I’d rather be stuck in traffic behind an accident than be in the accident, wouldn’t you?
Take some time to calm down
If you do feel yourself getting worked up into full blown road rage, then take some time to calm down. Count upwards for a minute. Focus on your breathing and your counting. If you are still angry, count for another minute. Do this until you feel the anger passing. Pull over (as long as it is safe to do so) if you have to, it’s worth taking a few minutes to calm down instead of continuing to drive and putting yourself and others around you at risk.
Learn to laugh about it
Getting angry because of somebody else’s driving is pointless. You can’t change what’s happened and getting angry about it helps no one. Instead, try and see the funny side of getting angry at a complete stranger who you are most definitely not going to see again.
Breathing techniques to stay calm
Here is a breathing technique that we recommend you use should you feel yourself getting angry while out on the road.
- Breathe deeply from your diaphragm
- Not your chest, that t won’t relax you.
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
- Some find it useful to count to five in between breaths. You can try this but make sure that it happens naturally and you aren’t just holding your breath.
- Keep doing this for three to five minutes, or longer until the anger subsides.
Hopefully this has given you some top tips to staying calm on the roads and curbing road rage. Don’t rush, remember that you aren’t the only one on the road and respect others on the road including cyclists and horse riders. Don’t forget to eat, and don’t listen to Johnny Cash, apparently. Remember that people are human and they make mistakes, their driving is not going to be perfect all the time. Also, getting angry at someone you have never met nor will ever meet is pretty pointless, is it not? Better to laugh it off than go home or go to work angry.