Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead.–Mac McCleary

Summer is just around the corner in a couple of weeks. Soon folks will be planning vacations and traveling to their favorite relaxation spots. Increased traveling also brings on more opportunities for road rage situations. Have you ever been in a road rage situation?  Personally, people driving two ton or more machines while angry is a bad idea. When you’re driving, it is so important to keep your cool. Controlling your emotions helps ensure a safe trip for you, your passengers and everyone around you.

Road rage can occur when folks are riding your bumper, cut in front of you quickly, or even argue over a parking space. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety posted a quiz to determine if you could be an aggressive driver. The quiz makes reference to such behaviors as:

• Tapping on the brakes annoy the tailgater
• Block cars who attempt to change lanes
• Race other drivers

Consider these strategies for successfully managing your emotions when you drive:

1. Remind yourself you’re in control of yourself and your vehicle. The good news is that you’ve got driving knowledge and skill and a car to drive. You make conscious decisions about what you will and won’t do behind the wheel. Make a personal vow to avoid allowing other drivers to negatively affect you.

2. Recognize it’s not your job to manage how other drivers behave. It’s a fact that you’ll occasionally encounter drivers whose driving you dislike. Fortunately, others are responsible for how they behave while driving. Even though you disagree with their methods, the both of you are still on the road. How other drivers behave is up to them.

3. Stay cool and drive defensively. Be on the lookout for drivers who are going too fast, travelling too close or driving erratically. Keep your emotions cool when you notice other drivers are being unsafe. Make it a point to drive in a way that keeps you and your riders safe. If you need to pull off the road for a minute and let a driver pass you, then make that choice rather than remaining in the unsafe zone around them.

4. Plan to enjoy your trip. Play your favorite music. Listen to your kids talk in the backseat. Have your favorite hot or chilled beverage with you. Make a decision that no matter how busy the traffic, you’re going to have a great time during your drive.

5. Keep your distance physically and emotionally. Allow plenty of room between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. This way, you’ve got no worries if the vehicle should slow down or stop quickly. Even though it’s easy to get annoyed when a vehicle swerves into your lane in front of you, choose instead to remain calm and simply slow down for a few seconds to leave your safety space open.

6. Set an example. When you make it a point to drive the speed limit, leave plenty of room between your car and other vehicles, and keep your emotions under wraps, you’re showing others in your car and those in other vehicles how to properly conduct themselves behind the wheel. Be proud of how you’re driving. Take the high road by setting a good example.

7. Let it go. Regardless of what other drivers do that you might find irritating, learn to let go of any negative feelings that start to creep in. Tell yourself, “This situation is unimportant to the rest of my life and not worth getting annoyed about.” You’ll feel better about it and the people travelling with you will be relieved. It can be a real teaching moment for any kids or teens in your vehicle as well.

When you make it a point to have a pleasant driving experience, you most often do. Put these strategies into action to keep your feelings under control and you’ll find that, not only have you become a safer driver, but also that you enjoy driving more than ever.

Are your emotions making you crazy? Learn how to stop the emotional roller-coaster with essential oils.

9 thoughts on “Managing Your Stress and Anger When Driving”

  1. Very wise advice. It's getting scary to drive some days with all those stressed out and angry drivers on the road. I just remind myself there is nowhere that I need to be so badly that I'm willing to risk my life or someone else's to get there.

  2. Lots of good tips here, Lisa. I especially like your #7. When all else fails, "Let It Go" is a good motto to live by!

  3. Road rage is so dangerous. These are really great tips to keep your cool. Control the things you can — yourself and your vehicle, and don't let yourself get distracted by all those others. They're just in a hurry to go nowhere, or so my Dad always used to tell me. 🙂

  4. I see you've driven with me 🙂   We'll be making an 8 hour driving trip soon and I'm grateful for this important reminder!  Thanks Lisa!

    1. Lisa Birnesser

      I was amazed at the list of things that were considered aggressive driving. Thanks, Liz!

  5. When I used to drive a tank, other cars on the road never bothered me.
    So I had to learn how to drive with other cars on the road.  🙂
    Seriously, good music makes it all worthwhile

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top