To a lot of people, driving is a major source of stress. Traffic congestion, road construction, faulty GPS’s, wrong turns, and slow-moving vehicles can be frustrating, especially when you’re on a deadline. It’s easy to lose your temper when you’re just trying to get from Point A to Point B and everyone seems to be actively working against you. But it’s important to keep your cool so that the situation doesn’t escalate. Here are some ways to avoid losing your temper while driving.
Listening to the right music can help you stay in a good headspace while driving. Find something that calms you down or makes you happy, not something that will fuel your anger and frustration. Everyone’s taste in music is different, so find something that works for you. Maybe you prefer to listen to audiobooks or podcasts. Maybe you even prefer silence. If you’re listening to something you enjoy (or you’re enjoying the quiet), it makes being stuck in traffic much more bearable.
2. Deep Breathing.
When you’re stressed, your nervous system is in overdrive. This means you risk overreacting to the things that happen around you, which stresses you out even more. Sometimes stress is good; it can help you react quickly in a dangerous situation because you’re already on high alert. But too much over too long a period of time can cause your thoughts and behavior to become erratic.
If you find yourself getting stressed, take a deep breath. Exhale longer than you inhale. It might help to count. For example, inhale to the count of four and exhale to the count of six. This sends the signal to your body that the threat is gone and allows you to think more clearly.
3. Remember That Other Drivers Are Human.
When you don’t see somebody’s face, it can be easy to project your own frustrations onto them. On the road, all you see are machines. Without seeing the people behind them, we fill in the blanks ourselves. Think about the mistakes you’ve made while driving. Chances are, you didn’t do them out of spite. You were inexperienced, you were tired, the weather was bad, or you’d just received bad news. The person you’re annoyed at might be going through the same thing.
4. If Someone Else Is Road Raging At You.
Sometimes you’re not the one who loses their cool. Sometimes it’s another driver honking their horn at you, using rude gestures, tailgating, or cutting you off. The other driver is most likely trying to get a rise out of you and will often give up if you don’t respond. The best thing to do is ignore them and put distance between them and you. This article has more advice on how to stay safe.
Driving is stressful and it can wear you down, which is why it’s important to be courteous to those around you. Your safety and the safety of others is more important than your ego.