Dealing with Road Rage
Many thanks to Phil Lyons of Cleveland Krav Maga for allowing me to post this.
Managing someone else’s state of mind is difficult in any context, but here is some guidance on managing other drivers to avoid getting caught up in their road rage:
Concentrate on your own driving to minimise mistakes that may cause offence, and be ready to offer a gesture of apology even when it’s not your fault, to diffuse the situation.
Don’t make eye contact with an angry driver, respond to his angry gesture or mouthed insult with one of your own, and don’t respond to his erratic driving by doing it yourself.
Whatever the other driver does, do you best to drive in an entirely normal manner, and if you are afraid, ask your passenger to phone the police. Do NOT phone them yourself while driving. Note the driver’s registration number, to pass it on to them.If you are pursued, do not drive faster in an attempt to escape – driving safely at speed is a learned skill, not a natural talent – that’s why young men pay so much for insurance; they all think they have the talent, but don’t. Driving faster than you are used to and trained to, especially when panicking, is a recipe for disaster.
Drive in or towards busy, built up areas, and head for a police or fire station to get help. Do not drive home – you’re revealing where you live to someone who may be dangerous.
If you have to stop, (e.g. to phone the police), keep the engine running, ready to drive on again if you can, with the doors locked and windows fully shut. If you have to speak to the other driver, do it through the closed window.
Apologise even if it’s not your fault, and avoid arguing. Do NOT get out of the car. Tell him you are phoning (or have phoned) the police and they are on the way.
Do you get angry behind the wheel? If you do, you may eventually provoke a situation you don’t want to be in. Here is some guidance for controlling your own road rage:
Allow more time than you need for journeys, and drive at a steady pace, knowing you don’t have to watch the clock or rush.
Play soothing music rather than something with a loud driving beat.
Play ‘driving examiner’ on yourself – count how many technical mistakes YOU make while you’re driving – and try to be more forgiving of other people’s mistakes.
Remind yourself that no-one is perfect, including you.
If someone makes a mistake, but no harm comes of it – there’s no accident – pause and ask yourself: has your life really been altered for the worse by what has just happened? if not, is it really worth wasting your time and energy getting worked up over it? Who benefits from you being in a foul mood over something that doesn’t affect you? No-one. Try to develop a sense of perspective.
Don’t make aggressive or abusive gestures, or mouth insults, at other drivers, as it may trigger road rage in them.
Accept a gesture of apology from another driver, no matter how stupid you think they’ve been, then forget it and get on with the rest of your life.
If you feel yourself flaring up inside, stop the car as soon as you safely can, get out, and walk around for a few minutes until you’ve calmed down.
Learn some stress management strategies, and consider attending an anger management course to understand why you get angry, and how to deal with it.
Many thanks to Phil Lyons for this, visit his Facebook page click here his book on staying safe will be published soon.