Frustrated Driver? Here Are Eight Ways to Keep Your Cool at the Wheel

Frustrated Driver? Here Are Eight Ways to Keep Your Cool at the Wheel

Posted By The Maher Law Firm || 11-Aug-2014

Orlando car accident attorney

If you spend any significant time in Orlando traffic, you know how easy it is to get frustrated. You can get angry about the speed you are forced to inch along at, other drivers who cut you off and even police who have the nerve to pull someone over on the shoulder of the road at rush hour.

Unfortunately, being frustrated can easily lead to aggressive driving - and the risk of a car accident. In fact, aggressive driving behaviors actually are a factor in 56 percent of all fatal crashes, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

What Is Aggressive Driving?

Aggressive driving is not the same as road rage. Road rage involves violence, or anger directed specifically to harm another person. Aggressive driving, on the other hand, is reckless driving behavior that can put everyone on the road at a greater risk of being involved in an accident.

Any of the following could constitute aggressive driving:

  • Speeding
  • Running red lights
  • Tailgating
  • Cursing or gesturing to other drivers
  • Cutting off other drivers
  • Driving slowly in the passing lane to control traffic
  • Honking your horn incessantly.

All of these behaviors can cause an accident. All of them are entirely controllable.

Here are seven ways to keep your calm in traffic:

  1. Plan ahead. Plan your route before you leave your home or office. Check online for any traffic congestion and consider another route if it looks like there will be an issue. If there is no alternate route, knowing you will be delayed can at least lessen the frustration associated with running behind schedule.
  2. Leave early. When possible, give yourself more than enough time to reach your destination. If you are stuck in traffic with only a few minutes to get to work, you are far more likely to make risky driving decisions.
  3. Get plenty of sleep. As Edmonds reports, a National Sleep Foundation study found that failing to get enough rest can increase your risk of acting aggressively behind the wheel.
  4. Lose the sense of driving as a competition. You can't "win" at driving. Getting in front of another vehicle or beating someone to a red light won't improve your life, and it likely won't help you get to your destination any sooner. Winning is getting to your destination in one piece. So, stop trying to compete with other drivers.
  5. Adopt some empathy. Put yourself in the other drivers' shoes. Maybe they didn't realize their lane was ending - give them the opportunity to get over into your lane. Perhaps they had a tough day - give them plenty of space. Never take other drivers' behaviors as a personal affront.
  6. Breathe and relax. If you notice yourself getting frustrated, keep it in check. Breathe deeply and consciously make an effort to relax. If you can't shake it, pull off into a parking lot and stretch or take some time to walk around.
  7. Don't use your car to blow off steam. When life gets hectic, some people use their vehicle as a way to not only transport them physically but mentally as well. While driving can be an enjoyable experience, seeing your car as your "therapist" can also be dangerous.
  8. Get help. If you struggle with your temper and with aggressive driving, perhaps it is time to talk with a mental health professional. There is no shame in asking for help with anger management.

Follow these tips, and hopefully, you can avoid aggressive (and accident risks) the next time you encounter a frustrating moment in traffic.

Categories: Car Accidents
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