Road Rage

 

Change Matters was recently interviewed by a journalist who was writing an article on women who experience Road Rage. Here are some practical tips we shared with her on the matter.

Whether you know that you are capable of road rage or not, there are measures you can put in place – especially if the rest of your life is pressurized and hectic.

Begin by first establishing some basic lifestyle patterns as a protective measure against becoming a perpetrator of road rage:

  1. Make sure you get enough sleep: there are statistics that link road rage and lack of sleep together.
  2. Set enough time to sit down and eat a slow energy release breakfast such as muesli, yoghurt and fruit. It will help control that initial sugar rush feeling that road rage gives when your adrenalin is pumping.
  3. Give yourself enough time to get where ever to need to go.
  4. Listen to traffic reports and try if possible to have an alternate route to avoid the hot spots that can delay you.
  5. Put on soothing music while driving.
  6. The golden rule is – don’t even think about getting into a car if you have had a fight, drunk alcohol or taken drugs.

OK, so now you’ve done all this and still an incident happens and you start experiencing yourself about to turn into a ‘banshee’.

Here are some tips to delay this event. We call them S.O.S. In this case S.O.S. stands for slow down, observe and self-talk as apposed to previously when we mentioned another technique called Holding, then the S’s stood for stop and  steer.

Slow Down

  1. Take slow deep breaths.
  2. Unclench your knuckle white tight grip on the steering wheel.
  3. Relax your jaw, neck and shoulders.
  4. Fall back and keep your distance or change lanes but resist the urge to drive up along side, roll down your window, scream or show a finger.

Observe:

  1. What just happened, could it have been a mistake on the part of the other driver after all the whole thing might not have anything to do with you.
  2. Observe what happens to your feelings once you have applied the ‘slow-down’. Do you now feel calmer? This is a sure indication that what you’ve experienced was a fright. Or do you still want to pursue the incident and go in for ‘the kill’.

Self-Talk

If you are feeling calmer then:

  1. Acknowledge that you got a fright.
  2. Congratulate yourself for remembering to use the Slow-Down tools.

If you still want to go in for the kill then before you do, ask yourself:

  1. Is it worth starting an argument that could lead to death or injury? Mine or theirs?
  2. What could be the consequences of such an action? For me, for them.
  3. Do I want to give myself a heart attack and be in a situation of possibly having to be helped by the same person I have just vented my rage on?
  4. Do I want to even associate myself with this rude action by behaving in even a worse manner?
  5. Why is it so important for me that I try to get even?

Hopefully by the time you have answered all these questions the perpetrator who triggered all of this will have moved on. In case they haven’t and you still want to let off steam then here are some more tips that you try:

  1. Roll up your window; take a deep breath and roar like a lioness, trumpet like a she-elephant, or whatever animal sound takes your fancy. On no account use any words.

If that doesn’t fully help you and you still feel compelled to react, then:

  1. Discreetly record to memory what happened and the car description and number in great detail. The reason for using your memory is it focuses your mind on an alternate task and helps delay your need for instant gratification. Also it is illegal to use your cell phone to take a picture whilst you are driving.
  2. Stop off at your nearest police station and lay a charge.

Of course we believe the best alternative is that you thank The Universe for this incident, the knowledge it has provided you – that your need to retaliate is actually out of synch with who you really are or wish to be.

This could be for a number of reasons but the bottom line is, if you experience yourself constantly and compulsively wanting to retaliate, then you will need to address this. Find someone that will help you deal with these powerful feelings of moral outrage and impotence and do it before you again go nuts and possibly damage yourself or another person.