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  • Date :
  • 3/9/2011

How to Prevent, Avoid and Deal With Road Rage


By J. Morris



Breathe. Stay calm. Fill your lungs to their capacity, hold the air for five seconds and then release. Or count to ten. Do whatever is necessary to let this fleeting aggression pass.


Remember it takes two to tango. "Road rage" needs two active participants, egging each other on to escalate the incident. Decide not to participate and the engagement will end that much sooner.


Ask yourself if it's worth it. Is getting all riled up worth the aggravation? Not only is the incident making you angry now, but you will most likely run the events through your head in the hours and days ahead. In the grand scheme of your life, allow this five-minute or less transgression to dissipate.


Ask yourself if it's worth it, Part II. While the fantasy of engaging in a physical confrontation may be nice, consider the reality of the possible consequences: jail, civil and criminal lawsuits, your own physical harm and loss of reputation. Is this near stranger worth the risk to the life you've built for yourself or your family?


Ask yourself if you "need to teach them a lesson." This sentiment may be understandable; there is usually not a police office present to punish the driver which leads you to believe it's up to you to send a message. But realistically, the message will fall on deaf ears. Their journey is their own; let them learn the consequences of their actions with someone else. As for you, live your life and let this pass.


Keep your ego in check. In all likelihood, the person who cut you off was at fault. This is true whether they seem to know it or not. You know the truth and in this case, that's enough.


Understand the cause. Oftentimes we feel powerless, stepped on, pushed aside and unappreciated by causes beyond our control. Maybe it's work, home or health issues, but life seems to unfairly throw curve balls our way. All this pressure and disappointment builds up until a near stranger cuts us off, clearly in the wrong, and even worse, doesn't care. We now have a tangible person to funnel our misplaced anger onto. And so it begins.


Try to make your drive more enjoyable overall; this will put you in a better mindset to react to someone's aggressive driving when it occurs. This may include listening to soothing music or books on tape.


Realize that you, too, at some point, were a driver in the wrong. Maybe not this time, but in the past. It'll be easier on your blood pressure, your state of mind and overall quality of life.


Practice forgiveness. This is a hard road to hoe, because in the moment all you want is justice. Maybe they are running late, or maybe, as is often the case, they are simply idiots or jerks. Forgive them, anyway.


Finally, try to reduce your own stress. Practice gratitude, take up yoga or meditation, anything to help alleviate the stress within your life. Best of luck!


Tips & Warnings

If you encounter many incidents, try to carpool more often so that the pressure of driving all the time is lifted.

Look into anger management if you find yourself getting angry beyond your control.Contact your local police station if there is a specific area where the traffic situation causes more road rage than usual.

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