Relieving Driving Stress

Stressed Out DriverMy question is, what do we do about stress and anger on the roads due to drivers that are endangering lives of others? What do you recommend to help get your mind off a negative experience while driving?

I have wondered about this myself since I retired. As I can no longer reach for the controls for lights and siren, I have started to develop a different perspective. It is easy to get caught up in the emotion of the situation because you feel helpless to do anything about it other than sit and stew, sound the horn or make rude gestures at the other driver.

When you find a driver endangering the lives of others on the road, I recommend making a driving complaint to the police and backing it up with a written statement and the resolve to attend court if necessary. This may help focus your mind on the situation and hopefully will keep you from responding with similar behaviour and escalating the situation.

Honking or waving is really counterproductive. If the driver is a selfish one, your consternation just becomes a source of amusement for them. If they have a short fuse, you may find yourself on the receiving end of a road rage incident. If it is someone that has made a mistake as we all do from time to time, you increase their embarrassment. None of this solves the problem.

ICBC's past summer ad campaign that advised you to "chill" is probably good advice, although it may be difficult to follow at the time. Take a breath, or even pull over and stop to give yourself time to cool down and put safe space between yourself and the driver that angered you.

I like the advice of one of my former supervisors: "Never argue with an idiot. They will just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience."

References:

Road Rage - AAA Traffic Safety Foundation

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