Nearly every driver has suffered a fit of road rage at one point.
Someone cutting you up, a cyclist in the middle of the road, people indicating the wrong way – it can all be a little frustrating. Okay, very frustrating. But that frustration can quickly make way to anger. And that’s when things become dangerous.
The UK is the road rage capital of the world. What’s more worrying is that one study by Max Power found that three in five people were fine about their road rage and said that the people they were shouting at ‘deserved it’.
So the roads aren’t always a friendly place to be. But they’re going to be even worse if you’re getting behind the wheel in the wrong mindset.
When angry with other road users you’re opening yourself up to a whole host of distractions. And we all know how dangerous distractions can be on the road.
So to help you keep you cool and stay safe we’ve put together a few helpful tips.
Get plenty of sleep – Its 8am. The roads are packed, you’re tired, you’re on the way to work and you didn’t get enough sleep last night. And to top it all off someone cuts you up.
Who can blame you if you become a little angry?
Driving tired is never a good idea. Yes you’re grumpy, but you also have slower reaction times, it affects your ability to make decisions and you’ll be far less attentive.
Research has found that almost 20% of all major road accidents are down to sleep (or lack of). Which means a sleep-related accident is much more likely to cause a fatality.
So when you’re gesturing at that cyclist remember, they probably weren’t in the wrong. It might have been you and your lack of sleep to blame.
It’s not all about you – When a driver cuts you up or almost crashes into you it can feel like it was a deliberate move to make you angry. They’re just being idiots, right?
Well… that might not be the case. People make mistakes every day on the road, and most of the time they aren’t serious. So give a thought to that driver or cyclist. They might just be having a bad day!
Plan ahead – Running late is often the most common cause of road rage. A driver who has somewhere to be doesn’t give any thought to other people using the road. They need to get to their destination and quick.
If you get in there way, you’ll know about it.
Don’t be that guy.
Plan your route and how long it takes to get there. Then add 10-20 minutes on top of it for traffic, stopping for gas or grabbing a bite to eat.
Take a break – Long journeys on the road can be hell. You’re cramped up behind the wheel for hours. The last thing you want is some idiot driver waving about all over the road in front of you.
Whenever you’re taking long trips in your car, plan a few pit stops. These breaks are the perfect time to stretch your legs, grab a bite to eat, visit the bathroom and to relax. We’ve already told you how dangerous fatigue can be so these stops are vital.
Eat plenty – When hungry, we become grumpy. Add a traffic jam to that formula and you get red faced, fuming anger.
Not great for the road.
Always have some snacks kept away in the glove compartment for those moments you’re stuck in a jam and starving. And make sure you eat enough before heading on a long trip!
Play some music – Imagine this: a pedestrian walks out in to the road without looking. They force you to do an emergency stop. Your coffee ends up everywhere. The pedestrian turns to you, mouths a word of apology and heads out on their merry way.
Your hand goes to the door handle. You’re going to give this guy a torrent of abuse. He could have been killed!
Yes, they’re at fault, not you. But is it worth getting out and shouting until your voice hurts? Is it worth spending the rest of your journey gripping the steering wheel like you’re trying to rip it out?
No. It isn’t.
Try putting some of your favourite music on to take your mind off the anger. Studies have shown that music affects our mood in a positive way so it could end up being the perfect way to relax on your journey to work.
Don’t put yourself and others around you at risk and let road rage get the better of you. Try these tips next time you hit the road!