When preparing to drive any distance, get a head start just by continuing to read this article
It is a sign of our times when you can look into the dictionary and find “road rage” listed as a noun! Road rage is defined in these terms: Violent anger caused by the stress and frustration involved in driving in difficult situations: aggression on the road, vehement behavior, hostile thoughts, ready to attack, overly assertive, force.
Don’t kid yourself. You will see road rage if you travel over any holiday weekend; actually, any weekend these days. Be prepared.
First you need to use your intellect. Driving a vehicle is driving a potential DEADLY WEAPON. Small vehicles can weigh as little as one thousand eight hundred and seventy five pounds. SUV’s weigh from two thousand pounds to the sunny side of eight thousand pounds. An eighteen-wheeler’s load weight limit is eighty thousand pounds.
Think about it. If you drive a vehicle on the smaller end of the weight scale you are fodder for any “road rager” on the rampage!
From the mid-size vehicles right up to the trucks on the road, the weight alone can do deadly damage in an accident.
Here are a few thoughts to begin your transition from rage to peaceful defensive driving.
1. The reason the DMV doesn’t issue driver’s licenses to children is because adults are supposed to be rational. Road rage leaves that thought in the dust. Be an adult.
2. It has been proven, time after time, that no matter how you speed to where you are going, you will arrive at approximately the same time as the person who exhibits aggression and speeds. You will arrive without incident and in a more peaceful manner if you don’t let your emotions override your intellect.
3. If you insist on texting, holding and speaking on the cell phone, eating, reading, or applying make-up while driving, there is probably no hope for you, as you haven’t the intelligence to realize you put your life and the lives of others in great danger doing these things! You are also increasing your stress level. Slow down. All these things will get done in good time.
If you ask now, “Well, what can I do to keep from raging, everyone is so rude and in a hurry?”
Here are a few suggestions that can begin to put YOU back in the driver’s seat (so to speak).
Take a few more minutes before getting into the car to make sure you have maps, lunch, and all the travel items you need, and think about your attitude. This is supposed to be a weekend (time for R&R), or a holiday… a happy time. Let that good time begin with you.
When the journey is on and someone ticks you off, first thing to do is to take a breath. If you aren’t already in an accident because of the jerk’s actions, then consider that a blessing and take another breath.
Remember that when stressed out we stop breathing momentarily. We need oxygen to function and think optimally. You intake will calm you down and allow you to use your wit instead of being outwitted by anger and irrational thoughts.
Remember who is in the car with you. Do you really want to take the chance of stealing their lives because you cannot control your anger? I think not.
Take time to stop for a mini-break and let everyone get out and stretch and get a drink of water. Being crunched up in the car cuts off your oxygen supply and when you straighten up and stretch just for a minute or so, you will regenerate and feel better. Those mini-breaks can be life saving.
Don’t allow someone else’s impatience CHANGE YOU. This is your time, your trip. Try thinking this: “This guy must be miserable. On a trip and acting like an idiot! I’m here to enjoy myself and he is not going to take that away from me.”
Even if you have to be polite J, move over. Let the jerk by and don’t let him have your life-mentally or perhaps physically by pushing you into irrational behavior.
If you get stuck in a traffic jam wiggle your fingers and toes, take a breath, bend your neck from side to side to stretch it. If you are stopped, blink your eyes several times as it will help them to relax a bit.
Talk to yourself. Talk to your family. Sing. Tell jokes. Laughter always relaxes the mood.
It’s all a matter of THINKING for just that moment before you get out of control. To help you think, USE YOUR OXYGEN, you oxygen machine!
Remember that if you react sometimes it will prove extremely dangerous. I actually flipped the folks off in a car off that passed me, and nearly caused me to have an accident. I didn’t even think they could see me. Wrong.
It was a car of gang-bangers. They slowed down and began to taunt me. I was lucky. I knew the freeway well and when I came to an exit that I knew they couldn’t backtrack and find me, I didn’t signal and make tracks to get away. For all I DIDN’T know, they could have been armed. It was scary.
Take a breath. Have a fantastic weekend or holiday and BE SAFE! Actually have a better day ANY DAY when you are behind the wheel. Better late than dead.