We've all felt frustrated on the road, but here's how to manage it.
You're driving on the highway, listening to your favorite song on the radio, when all of a sudden, someone appears out of nowhere and cuts you off. Most people would be annoyed at the situation, then probably ignore it and continue driving. But there are some drivers who would treat that situation totally differently and yell, curse, and even follow the car that cut them off. If you've experienced road rage, you know how frustrating it can be to control. To try and combat this, safety expert Bill Stanton came on The Dr. Oz Show on Dec. 9, 2019 to give effective road rage safety tips you can start practicing today.
Road rage may not seem like a big deal — everyone gets angry from time to time — but serious instances of road rage can lead to accidents, some that can leave people seriously injured. According to Safe Motorist, an online training site for new drivers, half of the drivers who are on the receiving end of road rage behavior (horn honking, yelling at people through the window, etc.) admit to responding back with aggressive behavior themselves. This creates a dangerous cycle that no one wants to be a part of. Use these tips to keep yourself safe on the road or to help calm you down, even in the most frustrating traffic jam.
RELATED: Subscribe to the Dr. Oz newsletter for wellness tips, recipes, and exclusive sneak peeks from The Dr. Oz Show.
How to Protect Yourself If Someone Is Directing Their Rage at You
If you drive, chances are, you've made mistakes on the road. But problems can occur when people act aggressively towards you because of your mistake. If someone is being rude or aggressive to you on the road, there are a couple of different methods to make the situation better for both yourself and the agitated driver.
1. Resist retaliation: This seems like it would be easy enough, but if you've ever had someone consistently honking or making gestures at you, you know how hard it can be to keep your composure. "[You need to] drop your own rage response, that's usually what escalates things," says Stanton. By not retaliating, you can safely remove yourself from the situation.
2. Act oblivious and let them pass: Stanton says it's likely the person who is being aggressive toward you is looking to get a rise out of you; don't let them. According to DriversEd.com, even something as small as waving at the aggressor could be seen as retaliation. In instances of road rage, it's best to keep your eyes on the road and pretend you can't hear or see them.
3. Make eye contact: By looking an aggressor in the eye, "you may be able to read what [their] next move is," says Stanton. This could make all the difference in protecting yourself and your passengers. If you ever feel truly unsafe (for instance, if someone were to pull out a firearm) your best option is to call 911.
How to Keep Your Own Aggression In Check
If you've been guilty of exhibiting road rage, or if you react negatively to others' road rage, use these tips to keep your anger at bay.
1. Always act like you have a passenger in the car: Stanton recommends pretending you have passengers. This will make you more inclined to remain calm when someone makes a driving mistake that affects you.
2. Pull over and breathe: According to Stanton, if you're feeling serious rage, you may need to pull over and take a few minutes to yourself to breathe and relax. "Driving with rage is just as dangerous as driving drunk," says Stanton. Paying attention to each breath, can help calm you down, similar to meditation. Stanton says thinking about how you would feel if the situation were reversed, and someone was being aggressive towards you, might help you settle down and control your emotions.
Being in any sort of road-related incident can be scary, but remaining calm and following these tips can help avoid any potentially dangerous road rage situations that may cross your path.