We have all been there: you get cut off on the interstate and bam! That fighter instinct takes over like when The Hulk turns green.
Or you may just be humming along until you come up on that sloooow moving gentleman who has no clue you are running late and has no clue what the speed limit is either.
Road incidents such as those above and so many others are unfortunately all too common.
It can be extremely tough to harness those raw, reactionary emotions when somebody does us wrong on the road, especially since we humans seem to turn into animals as soon as we enter into those moving metal cages we call cars.
So how can we combat these negative emotions when we are wronged, or when heated situations arise on the street?
If the threat of up to 5 years of jail time isn’t enough to cool your jets (yikes!), here below are a few creative mental exercises and road strategies that are very effective for self-regulation and safety in those critical situations when the ‘rubber meets the road.’
Assume there is an infant inside of every vehicle in your proximity.
This method calms the mind and allows one to back off of those fighter instincts that are so dangerous. It is difficult to be angry if you take a second to look at things from a different perspective. And the reality is, there actually could be an infant, a small child, or a pregnant woman in that vehicle that just cut you off. So don’t push the gas and tailgate; let it go.
If they cut you off, who knows, they could be dealing with an emergency.
Childbirth, hospitalization of a family member, midlife crisis, who knows; whatever allows you to forgive the person and move on. And honestly, you never know — that could be exactly what’s happening.
Think of your own driving imperfections.
Have you ever made a driving mistake that you wish you could take back? I think we all have. A lot of times, things move much too fast out there, and not all mistakes are deliberate. So the next time somebody makes a mistake at your expense, let it go.
Don’t change into a lane that brings you right next to a vehicle running parallel to you two lanes away.
In other words, don’t change to the lane that brings you closer to that vehicle. The reason is that you are in an immediate accident if that person also changes lanes toward you at the same moment. Instead, stagger that car or get ahead of it before changing lanes. If you can avoid danger, you can most the time avoid conflict as well.
Drive aware and drive with space between you and the person in front of you.
Situational awareness is so critical on the road. Many accidents and heated situations can be easily avoided with wise road positioning. Allow yourself plenty of space between you and the car in front of you, and if possible, the cars beside and behind you as well. That way you aren’t surprised if you have to stop. And remember, there could be an infant in that car, so be careful.
If someone is driving erratically, it is not your job to stop them. Pull over calmly, and call the police; that is the only way justice can be served.
Be calm, be cool, and be collected. Use these methods for a more enjoyable ride the next time you feel yourself turning green.