Road rage is a growing problem and the COVID-19 pandemic is not helping at all. Many people are on edge with the various confinements, health measures, the world of work and the economy in crisis, not to mention the upheavals in family life.
Even if there are fewer people on the roads, dangerous actions are on the increase because some reckless drivers see a freedom to be seized. As for roadworks and rush hour congestion, there will always be some.
With so many stressful and infuriating situations, how do you stay calm behind the wheel and prevent things from escalating? Here are some good tips …
1. Allow yourself more time
Road rage often results from feeling stressed and in a hurry. So allow a little more time for your travels, which will make you ride slower and more in control.
2. Avoid heeling and cutting off circulation
Did you know that 30% of altercations on the road that trigger physical assaults start with tailgating too close and sudden overtaking? If you are patient and your turn signal is properly activated, a courteous person will give way to you faster than you think.
3. Keep your cool and show restraint
Every trip down the road can bring frustration and conflict, so demonstrate patience behind the wheel by avoiding using your horn or gesticulating in abusive ways. Instead, take deep breaths, which will lower your pulse and blood pressure.
4. Think instead of getting carried away
Reason must always prevail over emotions. Suddenly braking to scare a motorist behind you only increases the risk of an accident. If someone is not going fast enough for you, check the speed limit; it may be you who are in excess. If not, it could be a novice driver or one unfamiliar with the area, so better not increase their stress and make matters worse.
5. Ignore bad behavior
If the driving of another motorist does not meet your standards, simply walk away. Don’t try to teach him a lesson or make him aware of his bad actions by reproducing them. The police are there to catch the culprits. Your role is to keep yourself and your passengers safe on the road.
6. Resist the urge to take revenge
Other road users don’t know you and neither do you. So there is nothing personal; rather, it is the context or a particular situation that triggers negative feelings while driving towards others or reckless actions. Do not try to add fuel to the fire and get your revenge.
7. Say “thank you” and “sorry”
Good manners and good behavior encourage other motorists to do the same. Recognize your mistakes (we all make them!) And apologize with a look or a gesture. It helps calm things down and avoid a confrontation.
8. Relax and take a break
Create a relaxing atmosphere in your car by listening to soft music and keeping a comfortable temperature. Caught in a traffic jam? There’s not much you can do… except change your mind. The radio or an audiobook can help, but avoid anything that might cause distractions while driving, such as looking at your cell phone.
9. If necessary, stop on the side of the road
Are your passengers too loud and you have trouble concentrating? Are your kids screaming and messing up the bench? There’s no point in enduring the situation and letting the frustration build. Pull over to the side of the road, calmly clear things up and bring order on board. After all, you are the driver!
10. Protect yourself
If you feel seriously threatened by another driver, stop your car, lock your doors and call 9-1-1. Otherwise, you can go to the nearest police station. In the event that an enraged driver gets out of his vehicle, approaches and threatens you, pressing the horn repeatedly or without stopping could encourage him to move away.