Everyone loses their temper from time to time. After all, we’re only human. But when anger rears its ugly head behind the wheel, the resulting road rage can be dangerous — if not downright criminal.
Road rage and aggressive driving have been at the center of more and more legislative discussion over the past decade , and 14 states have enforced aggressive driving laws as of March.
Dr. Leon James, better known as Dr. Driving, is an expert on driving psychology who literally wrote the book on road rage and its causes. He estimates that there are approximately 400 billion aggressive driving-related exchanges per year in the U.S. That’s a LOT of road raging.
As the saying goes, however, cooler heads prevail. Here are 3 surefire tips for avoiding rage on the road.
Get 8 hours (road rage thrives on no sleep)
Have a short fuse? Surprise! It’s even shorter when you don’t get enough rest. Sleep can do wonders for your driving state of mind, not to mention the fact that it makes getting up in the morning a little less, shall we say, difficult?
Make punctuality a reality
Driving is often stressful to begin with, so why add the additional stress of running late? Plan to leave for work 10 or 15 minutes earlier to avoid the frazzled feeling of running behind. You’ll not only reduce your road rage tendencies, you’ll also shock your colleagues who are used to strolling into the office before you.
Trade Mos Def for Mozart
Believe it or not, your music selection could be contributing to your aggressive driving behavior. When you’re feeling stressed on the road, try listening to classical music to help ease your mood. If you don’t have any Mozart or Beethoven in your car, you can download free classical tracks from Wikipedia. Make yourself a short CD and keep it in the glove box for emergencies. If you’re not interested in changing your tunes, try turning down the volume.
And remember, a little common courtesy goes a long way. While there’s not much you can do about the way everyone else drives, you can improve your own driving habits. Use your blinker, apply the 3-second rule, let the guy in front of you merge, and when all else fails, never underestimate the power of one little word: sorry.