ey, watch where you’re going. Stand there and I’ll knock you over for real…” There’s something about being behind the wheels that makes even calm individuals want to scream their lungs out at some point. From the reckless driver who doesn’t signal before cutting you off, or the pedestrian who crosses without observing, or maybe the good ‘ol traffic! Regardless of the cause, road rage is real and should be watched.
If you haven’t experienced road rage (whether as a driver or even a pedestrian), then there’s a special place reserved for you in the heavens for self control. While there’s a difference between being an offending road rager and a person who loses their temper occasionally, road rage is an actual thing that could lead to more aggressive behaviors when left unsupervised.
What is road rage?
According to Wikipedia, “Road rage is aggressive or angry behavior exhibited by motorists. These behaviors include rude and verbal insults, physical threats or dangerous driving methods targeted toward another driver or non-drivers such as pedestrians or cyclists in an effort to intimidate or release frustration.”
From hurling insults at others to a fatal shootout, this behaviour tends to sneak under the carpet only to resurface at will. An excuse could be: “Oh, we’re all stressed. it’s no big deal.” Whereas, studies have shown that road rage contributes significantly to road accidents and crime rates in society. Are you shocked?
Check out 3 factors that contribute to road rage…
#1. Anger issues
Road rage could sometimes be an offshoot of poor anger management and while there might be situations when the actual cause of the explosion occurred while driving, most times it’s about the individual’s ability to control their emotions or as a result of welled up negative energy.
#2. Learned behavior
Individuals who exhibit road rage might have inherited the behaviour culturally and are blinded to the consequences. Maybe you watched everyone from your parents to older strangers exhibit this lethal behavior until it started to look normal. After all, “if the road users don’t act right, who will call them to order?” News flash: it doesn’t have to be you, especially if it can be ignored.
#3. Environmental conditions
Traffic density, unexpected slowdowns, reckless driving, running late, nonchalant pedestrians and any other environmental factor can cause an increase in road rage. Studies have shown that overcrowding increases irritability and anxiety. This might be the reason why you feel your temper rise faster behind the wheels because, “why’s that man honking and cursing for no damn reason?”
Few representations of road rage…
These occurrences could range from tailgating, screaming, incessant honking, cutting off vehicles on purpose to ramming another’s car, physical confrontations and using of weapons.
Check out 5 easy ways to handle road rage…
• If more individuals would focus on their own driving rather than taking up traffic referee roles, that would be a positive step towards preventing unnecessary outbursts.
• Before hurrying off the car in anger to confront another driver, ask yourself if it’s truly necessary.
• Attempt breathing deeply. When you’re experiencing anger, it’s likely that you are starting to breathe faster and shallower and this could lead to further agitation. Practicing breathing techniques help calm the nerves making you unlikely to act on the anger.
• It’s almost inevitable not to get big mad in the middle of all the rush hour chaos. A stressed out mom driver with children fighting in the backseat or a bus driver with lousy passengers. All these tense individuals get rammed up in traffic and angry outbursts ensue. If possible, try leaving your house early to avoid traffic or you could pull over by the side ways and get things back in order — especially your sanity.
#2. Anger management and therapy
Psychologists offer a combination of cognitive and relaxation techniques that help road ragers manage their emotions better. If you find you are susceptible to road rage, do yourself and other road users a favor by seeking out professional help.
#3. Protect yourself
Should you feel threatened in any way, get help. Pull over into a crowded place and call 911. Also, if an individual walks right out the car charging towards your direction, pull the glasses up and lock the car then get help. Help can be a friend, family member, or even a stranger.
#4. Ensure you rest
It’s a fact, when you’re stressed it’s an invitation for irascible behaviors. Adulting has us living on caffeine and insomnia but sooner or later it will catch up with you. Imagine a driver in traffic, steadily honking at you to drive faster in front of a red traffic light? Then input the stress levels from work and other areas and watch how you blow things out of proportion. Ensure you are well rested and in a good mental space before heading out because people will test your self control on a daily basis.
#5. Count your costs
If the above approach still doesn’t work, remind yourself of the possible consequences of the action. A police case, a damaged car or physical injuries? Fill in the missing space.
“Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you.” ~Joel Osteen
Featured Image: Pixabay
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