According to Oxford English Dictionary, road rage is a “sudden violent anger provoked in a motorist by the actions of another driver”.
In April 2016, we asked our blog readers to respond to a survey regarding their most common driving habits. Although the majority of them said they rarely or never suffer from road rage, official statistics could prove them wrong. In fact, 66% of the UK drivers polled by a recent Zurich Insurance survey admitted using threatening behaviour towards another road user, and Great Britain has been named ‘Top road rage country in the European Union’ for many consecutive years. Furthermore, more than 80% of drivers say they have been involved in road rage incidents. Losing your cool might lead to major consequences, from sentencing to causing serious injuries to yourself and other people. Using threatening behaviour or verbal insults and abuse are offences that can lead drivers to be charged under sections 4 and 5 of The Public Order Act 1986, and incur a £5,000 fine and/or a six month custodial sentence can be imposed. So what can you do to avoid uncomfortable feelings and keep your cool while you’re on the road? Some things are unpredictable and unavoidable, like other people’s bad driving habits or tedious rush hours. But here are a few useful pieces of advice to keep you calm and collected even during the most hectic situations:
Get enough sleep
The reason why sleep is seen as the cure for all ills is that it really works wonders for your overall physical and emotional health. Amongst its countless other benefits, you should also add the fact that it will keep your mind sharp and focused, and it will help you to avoid feelings of annoyance, anger, and resentment. When you are facing a long car journey, try to fit a break and a bit of rest into your travel schedule at least every three hours. Take a small walk, breathe deeply and slowly, eat something tasty and healthy, take some awesome pictures of the surroundings or a bunch of silly selfies: the choice is yours. Try to also plan your journey or commute in advance, so you won’t have to make up time while you’re on the road.
Avoid stressful trips down ego lane
We know that many of us love and identify with our vehicles, just like the 29% of people polled by our survey that named their cars. Nonetheless, we should always remember that cars are not an actual extension of ourselves. Don’t use them as a psychologist’s chair; don’t see driving as an occasion to vent all your everyday stress, and try not to take other drivers’ bad behaviour as a personal offence. When facing a confrontation with other drivers, don’t do repeat their bad behaviour and do your best to practice kindness and express your feelings in a healthy manner.
Turn off aggressive music or annoying noises
Sure, you can’t put a screaming toddler on your backseat on ‘mute’ mode, but you can easily put a little sugar in your morning/evening bowl by listening to some happy or relaxing music, a witty comedy show on the radio, or an interesting podcast about your favourite subjects. Just treat your mind with some well-deserved brain food instead of draining it, alright?
When in doubt, consult your inner GPS
If you feel like you’re experiencing stressful feelings while you’re driving a little bit too often, you should take the time to work through this issue. Take a quick online test like the one provided by American Institute for Public Safety to assess your actual road rage levels, or read Dr. Leon James’s book “Road Rage and Aggressive Driving” to find out why you feel this way and how to cope with the problem.
Let confidence take the wheel (again!)
Maybe the best way to avoid road rage altogether is to reduce the stress of preparing for your driving test, while gaining all the knowledge and confidence that you will need once you will be on the road on your own. Even if you passed your driving test a long time ago, you should know that good road habits may decay over the years, and a driving refresher course might be a good occasion to reconsider your driving attitude and overcome dangerous driving behaviours.
Whether you’ve never taken a driving lesson before – or whether you’re almost ready to take your driving test – we have a course that’s right for you. We offer all our prospective customers an assessment lesson. As well as helping to improve your driving, it’ll give one of our driving instructors the opportunity to assess your current level of driving ability. And it gives you a chance to put us to the test! It’s your opportunity to see why so many of our pupils pass their test first time, and in just 1 week. It’s also your chance to meet with one of our driving instructors and ask them any questions your may have about our Intensive Driving Courses or your driving test.