You are caught in traffic, and you’re late for an appointment. Just then, a tailgater rubs you the wrong way. “He’s way too close,” you think, as your pulse quickens. Then a lane hopper swerves in front of you and nearly runs you off the road. You grip the steering wheel tighter in a desperate attempt to maintain composure.
At that moment, anger seizes the wheel. You mutter to yourself under your breath, honk your horn and maneuver 3,000 pounds of metal like a race car driver.
Maybe you won’t be stopped by the police, but you will arrive at your destination angry and not ready for your appointment.
Experts agree that distraction coupled with heightened emotions contributes heavily to driver error, which causes a large percentage of accidents in the US.
Safety experts emphasize that while you can’t control someone else’s behavior, you can control your own. Below are several tips and strategies to defuse your tensions:
*Give yourself a moment to regain your composure. Breathe deeply, count to 10 or think serene thoughts.
*Consider potential consequences such as a ticket, a collision or higher insurance premiums
*Listen to soothing music.
*If emotion overwhelms you, pull over to a safe area. Get out of the car and walk around. Don’t get back on the road until you have calmed down.