Lots of people deal with road rage. It’s nothing about which you need to feel embarrassed. What matters is how you choose to deal with these feelings. Road rage, while you’re traveling, can be a particularly difficult issue. Maybe you’re driving somewhere for work, or perhaps you’re taking the family on vacation. Either way, learning some stress management techniques will go a long way toward keeping you from doing something you’ll regret.
Focus on Your Breathing
Over 90% of working people drive a vehicle to and from their job. However, professional or vacation driving is surging as well, especially right now, when so many people are reluctant to fly because of the coronavirus.
If someone honks at you in traffic or cuts you off, it helps to focus on your breathing. Learning some breathing exercises that you can immediately start in that situation can distract you from yelling at the person or making a threatening gesture.
As you breathe slowly in for several seconds, then out again for several seconds, try to remember that what happened isn’t the end of the world. If no one was hurt, and what took place does not impede your travels, you’ll probably forget all about it in a few moments.
Listen to Music that Makes You Happy
Music can have a tremendous impact on your mood. Let’s say that you know you’re going on a lengthy drive for work, and you might be in some high traffic areas or construction zones. Stop-and-go traffic can upset you, but only if you let it.
Try to make a playlist beforehand on your phone of music that makes you happy. Maybe it’s a particular album by your favorite artist. Perhaps it’s several songs by different artists that never fail to make you feel better when you’re down.
Having that music on during the trip can ease your annoyed feelings if you’re caught in a traffic jam on your way to your destination.
Keep a Picture of Your Family on the Dashboard
Another useful way to curb road rage is to print out a picture of your family or one of your loved ones and to keep it in view on the dashboard. It’s a simple matter to stick it there with a piece of tape, even if you’re driving a rental car in an unfamiliar town or city.
Remember that nothing productive comes out of road rage. If you choose to engage with someone who gestured toward you or cut you off, they might do something to escalate further.
People kill others during road rage incidents in extreme circumstances. You want to get home to your family at the end of your trip. Having a nice picture of them to look at will remind you of that.
Don’t Be an Aggressive Driver
Being a defensive driver is something that any driving school will teach you as soon as you get your learner’s permit. That means merging when and how you’re supposed to, going the speed limit, and not tailgating the car in front of you.
When you’re an aggressive driver and don’t obey written or even unspoken road rules, you invite confrontation. You might be subject to road rage because of what another driver does, but don’t forget that you can be guilty of instigating it.
You can’t determine what other drivers around you do, but you can always control yourself.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Those who are more prone to road rage incidents while traveling, or in any situation, are individuals who might not be in the best frame of mind. Maybe you can trace your tendency toward road rage back to an argument you had with your spouse, or a relative. Perhaps you’re worried about money, or there’s something else happening in your life that preoccupies you.
You have less chance of reacting badly on the road if you’re mentally and emotionally sound. If you’re having trouble with your partner or spouse, talk things out with them.
Holding in your emotions can manifest in destructive ways. The same holds true for issues with relatives or anything else that’s bothering you.
If your mental state is that bad, seek help from a qualified health professional. Putting yourself in a better mindstate before you ever get behind the wheel makes it much more likely that you won’t be susceptible to road rage. That’s true regardless of whether you’re traveling in an unfamiliar area or whether you’re a block from home.