11 Tips for road rage-free trips
With reports of road rage incidents in Durban, Ackerville, Fontainebleau and Roerfontein added to numerous other cases in recent months, South African motorists are at risk of following a trend recently identified in the US, where Healthline reports that incidents of people getting injured or wounded due to road rage have nearly doubled, and that pandemic stress may be partially to blame.
It’s crucial to know when your ‘irritation’ or ‘impatience’ crosses a certain threshold, and to draw a very definite line when this impacts your life negatively or becomes an emotional and/or physical danger to others.
Tips to curb road rage:
- Prepare: Prepare yourself mentally for your commute, expect that at some point you may feel frustrated or triggered.
- Soothing environment: Being comfortable, listening to some of your favourite music, proactively focusing on your breathing, could help you relax.
- Watch your thoughts and challenge them: Remember that the other driver did not wake up and plan to get on the road to frustrate you.
- Abide by the rules: Speeding, not keeping your following distance, dangerous overtaking, cutting in, not stopping and other transgressions aren’t only dangerous, but often set the stage for conflict.
- Watch that hooter: A quick hoot to prompt, remind or warn another driver will often do the trick, whereas a long blast may escalate the situation.
- You are not the law: You cannot change another’s behaviour and you are not an authority who can punish bad driving.
- Apologise, or accept an apology, and move on: Unfortunately, we tend to blame other drivers first, even if we are at fault. If you made a mistake, apologise immediately, also acknowledge and accept another driver’s apology.
- Active destressing: Stress management through good sleep, frequent exercise, healthy eating, relaxation, and lower alcohol consumption all contribute to reducing stress and irritability.
- Tackle those issues off the road: If things are amiss in a professional or personal relationship, or stress has a hold of you, address these issues directly as soon as possible and get them resolved.
- When confronted by a raging individual: Don’t make eye-contact and remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible. If an aggressive person chases after you, head for the nearest garage, shopping mall or other place of safety and call for help. Never stop in a deserted area and confront the person.
- If someone you know suffers from road rage: Say to them - ideally when they are calm – that you are concerned about them and encourage them to learn some techniques to handle tricky situations.
A healthy self-evaluation, a defensive attitude, some good habitual changes, and restraint when things go awry could help make our roads much safer.
Dial Direct Insurance Ltd is a licensed non-life insurer and Financial Services Provider.