Every so often I get irritated on the road. I am generally a patient driver otherwise. But if I am late for work and if there is someone who is driving at 30mph in a road where the posted speed limit is 50mph or if there is a truck in front of me which goes like 20mph, I lose it. I start tailing them, try everything to overtake them, only think I don’t do (although I feel the urge) is honk at them. At times I am embarrassed thinking about how I reacted in such situations. It could be that the person is an old man or a young person afraid to hit the road. Sometimes it’s just a heavily loaded truck which really can’t go that fast. And sometimes it’s just some person who is busy talking on the phone while driving (which is against the law) and holding up the traffic behind him.
No matter what the reason was, it’s really not acceptable for me to react that way. Although I was always lucky not have got into trouble because of the road rage but I still feel there is a scope for improvement in me. We need to learn to be very patient on the road, even if others aren’t driving the right way. One small mistake on the road can cause huge damages not only for you but for others on the road as well as to people off the road.
There was this accident that occurred a few months back near my office. It was a school zone and kids were out after school standing on the sidewalk. A car turning left on solid green light (where they are supposed to yield to oncoming traffic) failed to yield and hit the car coming in front. It was a 40mph zone but the impact was so huge that it not only caused damages to the vehicle and people on both cars but also to the kids standing on the sidewalk and the house nearby whose patio got destroyed as the car flew and landed on the patio of the house. Luckily no one died, but there were injuries to the kids and the driver. Only if the driver was a little patient.
It is very easy to get angry at someone, to be impatient, to tail them, honk at them or cut across them, some might even show angry inappropriate gestures but with a little bit of patience and self control we can avoid it. Although we cannot control how others drive, here are few ideas that can help us avoid getting angry on the road:
1. Start early and plan your travel ahead: Especially if you are living in a crowded city. It is always better to check the traffic conditions and plan the travel ahead to avoid getting delayed. Most people get irritated when they are running late.
2. Be patient: Being patient on the road is the key, especially with old people. You are not aware what is going on in the mind of the person driving slowly. He might be depressed, might have just lost a job, might be nervous about an interview, might not be feeling well or rushing to hospital. It could be anything. The point is don’t take things personally. Although it is hard but consciously making an effort to be patient and practicing kindness on the road will help.
3. Car is not your identity: Many people having high end vehicles or sports edition car or sometimes even with normal car think it is cool to drive fast on the road. They use the car to show their superiority over others on the road. Having an expensive car doesn’t define anything, being a better driver does.
4. Don’t show your anger on the road: If you have had a bad day or you are angry your boss, parents, spouse or anyone else, don’t use the road to blow off your anger. Try to relax. Driving actually can help you divert attention from whatever was bothering you if you do it properly. A nice calm drive can help you cool down your anger.
5. Sleep well: We all know how cranky we get without enough sleep. It makes us prone to feelings of annoyance, resentment and anger more when we are tired. Taking enough rest (normally 8hrs) is recommended.
Remember, road and cars are made for taking us from one destination to the other, everything else that we try out in there is not really required. No matter how much power you’ve got under the hood, your vehicle is first and foremost a mode of transportation, not a weapon. Controlling your actions while on the road will ensure not only your safety but also of others around you.