Tips to stay calm behind the wheel and avoid road rage

Jun 19, 2019 | Same topic: Let's drive smart!
It is difficult to control other drivers, but you can control your driving behavior. Keep calm and Drive safe.

While waiting at a traffic stop for the light to turn green, you might have had an angry driver behind you continuously honk the horn, irritating you. Or you might be merging into a lane when another driver abruptly cuts you off.

While both of these are inevitable realities of everyday driving, getting into an argument with a stranger on the road won’t accomplish anything apart from stressing you out; remember that the difference between anger is just one letter away from danger.

How should you respond instead? Here are some tips from that you can follow to stay calm while driving and avoid road rage.

road rage

Anger is just one letter away from danger

1. Allot extra time for the trip

Prepare yourself with enough to get to your destination, particularly by leaving early. It is so stressful when you are about to be late for work or school. Therefore, setting aside extra time for your journey will allow you to handle unexpected delays

2. Change your driving habits

It is important to make sure that you are behaving in a way that’s guaranteed not to annoy your fellow drivers. Do you use your signal lights when turning left or right? Do you give way to others merging into your lane? Do you take care, not to tailgate?

>>> Also check out: 10 bad driving habits you need to discard right now

Do you switch off our high beams when faced with oncoming traffic at night? Most emotional upsets are temporary. If you are just about to drive, wait for your emotions to taper off. If you are driving and you become upset along the way, pull over to relax and take a moment to compose yourself.

relaxed calm driver

Stay calm, forget about it and drive on

3. Never take anything personally

You may pride yourself in memorizing every single traffic rule and regulation there is, and practicing them accordingly on the road. However, you’ll still need to anticipate that other drivers will make mistakes, so never take anything personally.

Erring drivers are just that, erring. Don’t make it solely about you, especially if you know that you have not been inconveniencing anyone up to that point. And ask yourself if that little slight is worth getting worked up over a few minutes from now.

keep calm when having car accident

Don't always blame other drivers for the unclear problems

4. Be respectful

Try not to give other drivers any reason to become aggressive. Easier said than done but go back to the rule about checking your driving habits. No matter what others do, keep your cool behind the wheels. Not every driver is aggravated by someone else driving aggressively, but let’s assume that nobody wants that, as a matter of courtesy and safety. 

5. Listen to soothing music

Another good way when feeling anxious or facing road rage while driving is listening to your favorite music. This can help you calm down and focus on getting to your destination safely. From jazz and standards to classical music, choose which type of music is most relaxing to you. Avoid listening to fast-paced or aggressive music while driving.

Listen to music while driving

Listen to your favorite music to relax

>>> You might like to read: How loud should you play your music while driving?

6. Count to avoid getting angry

While focusing on breathing, count upwards until you calm down about one minute and start thinking positively about the erring motorist and you’ll gradually cool down. If you don’t feel better after a minute, try counting another minute. The key is to stop yourself from conjuring angry thoughts long enough for your active rage to pass.

7. Keep your distance

Some people feel the urge to tailgate when they feel they have been “slighted” by other drivers. Apart from being the wrong way for you to vent out your frustration, tailgating is also dangerous, increasing your risk of being involved in an accident if the car in front suddenly brakes and you don’t have the adequate distance to maneuver.

Keep your distance to lessen the temptation of acting out your frustrations. Better yet, pull over and wait until the other car is out of sight, so you won’t feel the urge to get back at the other driver.  

tailgating car

Avoid tailgating, keep your distance

8. Forget about it and drive on

If you find yourself occasionally on the brink of road rage, always remember that it’s not going to matter five, ten, fifteen minutes onward. Road rage is an offshoot of your confusion about what to do, where logic takes a back seat in favor of our baser instincts.

But there’s nothing wrong in taking the high road, and when you bear in mind that there are other things worth paying attention to, such as the loved ones who are waiting for you to arrive safely, then it becomes easier to take the incident in stride, shake your head, whisper a prayer and go on your merry way.

Always remember to be responsible, be cautious, and drive defensively.

Read more helpful driving tips and advice better driving experience on the road.