How to avoid road rage
Road rage: sudden violent anger provoked in a motorist by the actions of another driver.
Come on. Admit it – it happens to the best of us. We’ve all been in a situation where another driver has done something inconsiderate or dangerous and we just see red.
Getting mad doesn't make you feel any better and you then have to drive the rest of your journey with a bad attitude. Or, if you’re anything like me, you dwell on it for most of the day, getting more upset about it, telling everyone and anyone who will listen about the @!”&*% that cut you up at the roundabout.
Once you’ve calmed down you feel a bit silly for getting so wound up and can’t help but feel that the other driver probably didn’t even give it a second thought. You’ve wasted A LOT of emotion and energy on something that you didn't need to.
5 pieces of advice to keep the red mist at bay
Plan your route
Yep, it sounds obvious but planning your route will mean you’re setting off on the right foot. If you know exactly where you’re going, how to get there and how long it will take, you’ll generally be calmer behind the wheel and those MINOR inconveniences that crop up just won’t bug you.
Top tip: give yourself an extra 10 minutes of travel time - that way, if you come across a load of road works you’ll be breezy knowing you won't be late.
Be chill before you set off
Someone said to me once that you should never go to sleep on a row as you never know what may happen next (plus you'll be grumpy the next day). And driving is the same. If you’ve just had a barney with your girlfriend on the phone or an almighty rant with your parents, try not to jump straight into the car.
You might not realise it, but all that adrenaline and emotion will come out in your driving style and you’ll end up finding people on the road to fall out with as well.
Equally, a stressful day can have the same results. Take a breath, put some chilled music on and don’t keep replaying it all in your head. Just focus on driving.
Once you’re out of the car you can call your BFF immediately to vent.
Get your Zs in
Raise your hand if you get cranky when you’ve not got a good night’s sleep. You know it.
Not getting enough sleep not only makes you feel tired (obvs) but can make you prone to getting annoyed that bit quicker. It’s also really dangerous to drive when you’re not fully alert.
Do yourself and everyone else a favour: get some shut eye.
Don’t lose perspective
If someone pushed in front of you in a supermarket queue, you wouldn’t shout and use all sorts of hand gestures to express your upset. Hopefully, you would politely point out to them that you were next in line and wait for them to courteously join the queue behind you.
You may feel that bit more protected and isolated in your car, but it doesn't mean you should act in ways you wouldn’t normally in public. You wouldn’t scream at someone’s mum in Sainsbury’s so don’t do it behind the wheel.
Transport for London's Share the Road video really brought this message to life.
It’s no one's job to show people lessons on the road or get one up on each other, so if someone is driving competitively, aggressively or inconsiderately, let them pass. Don't let your boundaries between what you know is wrong and right blur.
Remember we’re all human
When you make a mistake on the road, all you want is for the drivers around you to understand and give you a chance to correct yourself. Getting beeped at immediately doesn’t help the situation and can make you feel flustered and to be honest - a bit defensive.
If you can see a newly passed driver is repeatedly stalling at the traffic lights, take yourself back to when that was you and give them space. If you can see a mum with a car full of excitable kids trying to get into the right lane, understand that she might be a little distracted and let her go.
When you get a smile or a thanks from another driver it really makes a difference to everyone on the roads. We’re all human, and a little patience and consideration can go a very long way.
Katey Joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of all things social and content. She passed her driving test in 2015 and her first car is a Toyota Yaris T3 named Tyrone.