Monday morning rush hour or after-school pick-up can be extra stressful behind the wheel. If someone shared this article with you and you’re still thinking “I’m not an aggressive driver,” keep reading.
Do any of the following statements sound like you?
– I regularly exceed the speed limit in order to get to work on time.
– I tailgate other drivers, especially those going too slow.
– I honk my horn to let drivers know when they annoy me.
– I verbally abuse other drivers whether they can hear me or not.
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may qualify as an aggressive driver.
Studies suggest that the source of aggressive driving actually lies within us and we can reduce the stress level in our vehicles by taking a look at our own driving behaviors. Here are some tips to curb those negative feelings while driving.
1. Plan Ahead
Sounds simple, right? Remember that extra time equals calmer driving. If you try to make up lost time on the road, then you’re probably bringing unnecessary stress to the streets. Try packing up your computer, bags, and lunches the night before to create a calmer morning. Additionally, add an extra ten minutes to your expected travel time.
2. Prepare the Proper Playlist
Don’t try to get “pumped up” to drive. Turn down the bass if you’re experiencing anger or aggression toward other drivers. Talk shows, podcasts, or acoustic music can soothe the atmosphere in your vehicle.
3. Try to be an Empathetic Driver
Don’t forget about that time you accidentally cut someone off. Remember that all drivers make mistakes. Try to put yourself in their shoes (aka driver seat). Maybe their wife is in labor, there is a distracting baby or pet in the vehicle, or they spilled a hot coffee. Don’t take their mistakes personally.
4. Don’t Forget Your Dinner Etiquette
Wait, aren’t we talking about driving? Think about how you normally act at a restaurant or in a public space. It’s not often that we throw tantrums and become verbally abusive. When we are driving, however, we feel more secluded and shielded from others. This can cause us to act in ways we would normally find embarrassing. So when another driver makes you angry, remember your etiquette.
5. When All Else Fails, Eat A Peppermint
If you tend to be an aggressive driver keep a bag of peppermints nearby. Scents can be used to manipulate our moods and behaviors and peppermint can have a blissfully calming effect on your drive. The smell of peppermint is said to reduce driver frustration and increase alertness. The smell of lavender, citrus, cinnamon, vanilla, and fresh grass can also promote healthy relaxation and joyfulness.
Now you’re equipped with the tools to put aggressive driving in park. When it comes to driving, planning ahead and keeping things in perspective can keep everyone safe.