Everyone around you on the road is equally stressed by road and traffic conditions, so try not to resort to road rage.
We’ve all been there; traffic jams, inconsiderate drivers, bad weather and potholes! Dealing with poor road conditions and heavy traffic can quickly make you feel stressed. Knowing how to handle these situations is important to managing your stress levels and helps ensure that you, and others, arrive safely at your destination.
Getting emotionally worked up will rarely leave you feeling any better; it just passes on the frustration to another driver and spreads the road rage. Ford suggests having a game plan before you even get into your car. Know what you have to do before driving and while driving to help avoid frustration once you’re in the thick of things.
Before You Drive:
- Allow time for delays – This may seem like a no-brainer, but failing to give yourself a bit of breathing room when travelling to work or social engagements can create unnecessary stress, so allow time for unexpected delays. Listen to traffic reports in order to avoid congested areas. If you get stuck in traffic, the best advice is to relax and turn up the music.
- Get some rest – Driving while tired can be stressful and dangerous. Get a good night’s sleep before hitting the road, and you’ll be calm and in charge on the road.
- Sound mind, sound ride – Your car should always remind you why it’s awesome to drive. The right playlist or the right radio station can help fend off stress and frustration in a traffic jam. At a reasonable volume, this will help make your drive more pleasant and help you stay calm.
When You’re Driving:
- Drive smoothly – If burning fuel (and your money) is stressing you out as you sit idle in traffic, remember that smooth driving can help decrease fuel consumption. There’s no reason to rush five metres forward only to stop again. Accelerating and braking smoothly in stop-start traffic helps make your tank go farther
- Give yourself some space – Tailgating (when you leave almost no space between your car and the car in front of you) is dangerous for everyone involved and a recipe for potential collisions. Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one ahead.
- Drive and let drive – Decide to be safe. Don’t hoot or stare, or use rude hand gestures, no matter how tempting it is. Rather take a few deep breaths and focus on your own driving. You can’t control traffic or other drivers, but you can control your own behaviour. Getting into a conflict is ultimately self-defeating, as it will not get you out of the traffic faster.