The news is out: Jason Ivler, a prime suspect in the road-rage killing of a Palace official’s son, has been finally arrested after a long police manhunt. While others might say that Jason Ivler is an exception to the rule, road rage is very real and affects more people than you can imagine.
What is road rage all about? What triggers it? With the everyday traffic rush, tempers are bound to flare up. Motorists, at times, end up shouting expletives or even get into displays of speed just to vent their anger, impatience, or agitation. It seems as if it’s only inevitable to lose your cool when you get cut by hot-headed or reckless drivers.
With incidents such as Ivler’s case and other alarming road rage cases in the Philippines, parents should take time to reexamine their behavior when driving and how they control their temper, especially when the entire family is with them in the vehicle. We take a closer look at rage and we give suggestions on how to stay calm and level-headed when on the road.
The Connection between Rage and Expectations
According to Andrew Matthews, author of “Happiness Now,” rage isn’t just about external factors or occurrences. It’s actually about our expectations—when we expect one thing to happen but something entirely different happens instead. Think about it. Every time you’re behind the steering wheel, you want the other driver to always give way. “The problem here is not the other driver—it is your expectation that he should be nice!” says Matthews. “Expectation sets us up for disappointment and anger.” The trick is to keep in mind that each person thinks differently and thus has varying expectations for every situation. “The fewer expectations you have about the world, the better life gets.” explains Matthews.
How to Keep Your Cool On and Off the Road 1. Don’t show a physical reaction to an aggressive driver’s behavior. Avoid eye contact, which might signify mutual aggression.
2. Don’t blow your car horn to express displeasure or irritation. This will only agitate fellow drivers who might be losing their temper already as well.
3. Get plenty of sleep. Sleepiness, as we all know, leads to a higher likelihood of crankiness, annoyance, resentment, and even anger.
4. Plan ahead. Minimize morning rush and stress by preparing the day or night before traveling. Prep the kids’ school bags, lunch boxes, etc. ahead of time to help calm you down before driving.
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5. Don’t drive to blow off steam. Avoid, at all costs, driving when you’re upset or in a bad mood. Tendency is for you to release all that negative energy on the road and this is a clear trigger of road rage.
6. Listen to music that relaxes you. Instead of pounding tunes or heavy music, try playing soothing songs to help reduce stress. This also acts as a plus to help drown out agitating traffic noise.
7. Loosen up and breathe. Relax your body and shake off any tension in your fingers or shoulders. If on a long road trip, make sure to rest at least every three hours and get out of the car for a good stretch every now and then.
8. Don’t be hostile. It’s literally life-threatening. People who get easily angry are almost three times more prone to having a heart attack. “Safe driving promotes healthy hearts!” says Jennifer M. Root, author of “Top 10 Tips to Prevent Road Rage." Think to yourself, “Is making my point worth endangering my life?”
9. Practice humility. When people don’t get what they want, they get angry, feeling self-important and self-righteous. Relax. Be open sometimes for other people to get what they want.
10. Just accept what is. Stop finding fault in reality, getting angry over wanting things to be or to happen in a certain way. “It is a waste of energy,” says Matthews. “When you argue with reality, reality wins!” Also, stop assuming the worst when another driver does something erratic. He might actually have just done a mistake or a miscalculation.
SOURCES: auto.howstuffoworks.com | “How Road Rage Works”www.edmunds.com | “Top 10 Tips To Prevent Road Rage”Happiness Now by Andrew Matthews.