How to avoid losing your cool on the road while driving

Special Reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — If you’ve ever stepped outside of the house, then it’s likely you’ve lost your cool – even more so, on the road. Let’s face it, we’ve all had our moments.

Lately, though, it seems tempers are up, as road rage becomes more commonplace.

“It’s been a difficult last 15 months,” Dr. Abhi Saxena said, the medical director of hospital services at Vanderbilt Behavioral Health. “People have a lot on their plate, and people are doing the best they can. Our city has gone through a lot. We had all the national things everyone else went through, but we also had tornadoes, flooding, and a bombing.”

According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s 2019 data, nearly 80% of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression, or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the previous 30 days.

Dr. Saxena said avoiding road rage starts before you get in the car. Make sure you budget extra time to get to where you’re going, hydrate, get some food in your stomach, and get a good night’s rest. These four things will help ensure our stress levels stay low.

When you’re in the car, be sure to create an environment that’s comfortable.

“Before you start the car get in the right seat position, get relaxed, turn on the music of your choice, and create an environment where if you know you’re going to be in the car a while or you’re going to be in rush hour traffic that you kind of set yourself up to succeed,” Dr. Saxena said.

Yes, you will see drivers doing things that are illegal, inconsiderate, and even incomprehensible.  Keep in mind, most drivers are not thinking about their impact on you; they are just rushed, distracted, or upset, AAA said.

Dr. Saxena emphasized the most important piece of advice he has is controlling your impulse.

“Take a deep breath. Let some time pass. Ground yourself again, and take stock of knowing that person is going to drive away,” Dr. Sexena said. “That split second thing you did isn’t going to impact anyone but yourself. In fact, you’re probably just going to raise your own blood pressure, or you’re going to get into a situation where you get into some sort of a confrontation with someone else.”

Be tolerant, forgive, try to forget, and drive away.

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