We’ve all been there. You’re in a hurry to get to point “B” and it seems as if everyone around you graduated last in their class at the Stevie Wonder Driving School. Your schedule is packed with appointments at all four corners of the city and it feels like someone has covered your car in ”I love driving 25 MPH” bumper stickers. You’re late to your child’s music recital and 20 million of your fellow drivers are all suffering from a collective case of automotive cerebral flatulence.
There isn’t a person on this planet with any tenure behind the wheel of a vehicle that hasn’t lost their mind in one of our nation’s major metropolitan traffic jams at least once. For as long as humanity has gathered together in large numbers and then tried to collectively move from point “A” to point “B”, there have been outbursts of frustration. From horseback to horse powered vehicles, mankind seems intent on finding more ways to move faster while settling in the highest populated areas on the planet where moving faster makes for great fiction.
Because of the growing number of drivers on our nation’s roadways, the number of road rage incidents seem to be climbing with each passing day. As more and more stressed out drivers take their frustrations out on their fellow man, the automotive industry is stepping up their attempts to educate the driving public to both the dangers of and methods of avoiding becoming a perpetrator or a victim of road rage. With this in mind, Ron Carter Cadillac is happy to offer the following tips to help keep your commuting as stress and incident-free as possible.
SLEEP IT OFF
According to the National Sleep Foundation, our nation is populated by a growing number of sleep deprived motorists. Full schedules and stressful situations are just some of the contributing factors to sleepless nights that most Americans suffer from. Whatever the stimulus (or lack thereof) for the restless nights, most of us understand that with restlessness and stress comes crankiness, frustration, and even anger. Now fill our nation’s highways with stressed-out, cranky drivers and you’ve got a recipe for a buffet of road rage. The solution can oftentimes be as simple as getting a good night’s sleep. As difficult as that may seem, there are plenty of therapies, medications, and even exercises that will help even the most stressed out among us to get the rest they desperately need. Just imagine how different our daily commute would be if we were well rested. Now fill our highways with rested people and what do you see? Hopefully it’s a decline in road rage incidents.
One of the leading causes of road rage incidents is the frustrations associated with running late for work, appointments, etc. Obviously there will be times when circumstances prevent us from making a scheduled appointment time. But, if those circumstances are the norm instead of the exception, it may be time to learn some time management skills. Trying to make up for a late start on the highway is a perfect catalyst for road rage. There are many ways to improve our time management habits. One of the biggest steps to improving your drive time is planning ahead. Learning to plan for the next day’s schedule with a little bedtime preparation goes a long way towards alleviating the chaos of a typical morning. Laying out clothes or preparing the kids’ lunches before bedtime may sound like something associated with OCD, but you’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll save with just a little bit of preparation for the next day’s events. Knowing the next day’s weather forecast will also help with planning a departure time that will allow for unexpected delays without all the rage. In short, learning how to effectively manage time will go a long way toward reducing the stresses inherent in city commuting.
GET OVER YOURSELF
Yeah we know, that’s pretty blunt. At the risk of crossing over into insulting territory, we acknowledge that when it comes to subjects of behavior modification, some truths are difficult to hear. But the truth of the matter is many road rage incidents occur because most drivers believe their driving habits are the standards by which all other drivers are to be measured. As ego-building as that belief may be, the fact of the matter is no one on the road is more important than anyone else. If more people drove with courtesy and respect for other drivers, the number of road rage incidents would decline rather drastically. Consider this tip as a challenge for personal growth and development. Learning not to take things personally will go a long way toward improving much more in our lives than just our commute to and from work. After all, we’re pretty safe in assuming there aren’t too many people who are proud of their road rage activities once they have calmed down and the ones that brag about their rage-fueled commutes generally aren’t very popular. If your priority is avoiding road rage, choosing to keep a healthy, non-self-centered perspective on life goes a long way toward achieving that goal.
If you really want a perspective-shifting experience, record yourself driving in traffic. Many corrective classes for aggressive drivers instruct their students to record themselves and teach them how to analyze their habits in order to curb road rage incidents. Here are just a few of the analytical questions you may want to ask yourself as you listen to your recording:
Do you regularly speed in order to get to your destination on time?
Do you regularly tailgate other drivers, especially in a freeway’s “fast lane”?
Do you regularly use your lights and horn to communicate your frustration with other drivers?
Do you verbally communicate with other drivers despite the fact that they cannot hear you?
Do you regularly weave in and out of traffic in order to save time?
Do you regularly feel the need to set other drivers straight?
These questions are designed to inform, not rebuke or punish aggressive driving behavior. The idea is to pinpoint observable habits that fuel frustrations that can easily lead to road rage. Once armed with this information, the driver is left with some choices to make. Ignore the behavior or take steps to develop driving habits that will result in a much less stressful driving experience. As always, the choice for personal growth and development is up to each of us to make.
BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER
“All the world needs is love” John Lennon said and nowhere on earth is that fact more apparent than on our roadways. Of all of the tips we could give on the subject of reducing road rage incidents, this one seems the most simplistic. And yet, if we can invoke another Lennon tune, just imagine what our highways would look like if people were just kinder to one another. We’re not advocating everyone buy a VW bug and fill it with flowers to spread across the land. But, consider just how different the world would be if kindness was the defining characteristic of humanity. At the very least the jails, hospitals, and cemeteries would be less crowded with the victims and perpetrators of road rage incidents if we could all just learn how to be excellent to each other.
Yeah, we know. Road rage seems to be here to stay but if we all just put in a little effort to work on our perspectives and attitudes, especially when we’re behind the wheel of our vehicles, we can imagine a world where road rage incidents become the exception rather than the norm on our highways and byways. In any event, we hope these tips will not only help you get to your destination with your sanity and self esteem intact but maybe, just maybe, help you learn how to enjoy the journey along the way.