Roadmap to smoother commute in hands of Millennials, says VUMC psychologist

Special Reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Something you’ve probably witnessed while driving, speeders dangerously dodging cars. You may mutter to yourself about their actions and assume you know what kind of person is behind the wheel.

But, before you judge too harshly, a psychologist said most of the stereotypes you assume are probably incorrect.

Dr. Dennis McLeod with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, explained further the road map to a smoother commute may lie in the hands of Millennials.

“I always talk about this balance between safety and sanity. And many of us are trying to really figure that out,” said Dr. McLeod.

Millennials are the one age group that seem unashamed in their search for that answer, he said.

Those between the ages of 25 and 40 tend to embrace mental health as part of their overall wellness.

“I think they value themselves in a different way,” Dr. McLeod continued, “They also aren’t afraid to say, ‘hey, I need a little bit of help.'”

Help, he said to pump the brakes on the underlying issues that contribute to dangerous driving.

On the surface, aggressive driving may appear as a blatant disregard for life and maybe even an anger management issue.

But he disagrees, “I don’t think that’s the case at all.”

Instead, Dr. McLeod said, “We all struggle with anger. The question is, how do we respond to that anger?”

People are under more pressure than ever before facing circumstances beyond their control, which is why setting expectations more often than not accelerates angst.

“As long as I kind of cling on to that expectation, this will be a breeze. It won’t be a breeze,” he laughed.

Dr. McLeod wishes more people would seek professional help to learn how to shift their minds as easily as they shift lanes.

“We have to unlearn some of those bad habits,” he added.

Typically the aggression is rooted in something other than the commute. He suggested check-in with yourself.

“Am I hungry today? Am I tired, because I didn’t get any rest? Has the job been extraordinarily difficult lately? or, you know, are the kids, louder than usual?”

How we react to daily stressors is not an inherent skill set.

News 2 digs deeper into the dangers posed by aggressive drivers and what cops are doing about it in our special reports ‘Aggressive Drivers’ on-air and on WKRN.com.

“I’m learning very few of us actually get that information in childhood, early on. This is what anger is, this is how it feels. And this is what you can do with it. And you have options,” Dr. McLeod said.

And, straying from your lane to learn what those options are is one maneuver more drivers should try.

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