Strong emotions can distract you on the road and can cause a car accident. Each year, people suffer fatalities or serious injuries, such as brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, due to reckless driving caused by road rage. Strong emotions behind the wheel can kill, so it is important to control your temper when you drive. Here are some tips for staying cool-headed and arriving safely at your destination:
1) Learn deep breathing. If you are driving and you find yourself getting upset, emotional, anxious, or angry, take several slow, deep breaths. When we get emotional, our breathing often becomes shallow and rapid, and this can actually agitate emotions further. Breathing deeply can calm you down.
2) If you find yourself focusing on something other than driving, focus on the road. If you find yourself focusing on an upsetting situation while you’re driving, make a conscious effort to focus on the road. Focusing on anything other than driving can distract you from the road and can put you at risk of an accident.
3) Avoid emotional input from passengers or the cell phone. Upsetting phone calls – or any phone calls at all – and arguments or spirited debates with passengers are very distracting. Rather than becoming engaged emotionally with a conversation, stay calm and focus on your driving.
4) Do not drive when upset. If you get terrible news about a family member or an emergency, do not drive yourself to the hospital or wherever you need to go. If you are upset, get a friend or family member to drive you or take a taxi.
5) Visualize something pleasant. If you are getting upset or angry while stuck in traffic or while driving, picture something soothing and pleasant in your mind. This can be a favourite memory or a treasured vacation spot. Focusing on something positive soothes away anger and other negative emotions.
6) If you find yourself losing control in the car, pull over. If you find that you are speeding up because you are enraged or having trouble concentrating because you are angry, pull over until you get your emotions under control.
7) Get a physical. If you find yourself often upset, emotional, angry, or seriously depressed, visit your doctor. Some medical conditions can cause emotional upheavals, and simply by treating the underlying cause you might be able to get a better handle on your emotions.
8) Get anger management in you need it. If you find that you frequently get angry or enraged at other drivers, consider seeking anger management classes. Road rage is a frequent cause of accidents and by learning to control your temper you may be able to prevent a car accident.