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Learn how to control your road rage

November 2015

Research has shown that many motorists experience aggression directed at them on a daily basis. Weíve all experienced stress to some degree and for some this can lead to outbursts in traffic, regardless of the consequences. This can lead to road rage where our inner emotions spill over to those around us. Here are our tips for dealing with road rage.

Sleep
Fatigue can make you irritable and angry. On average, you should be getting eight hours of sleep every night. Apart from making you irritable, a lack of sleep can also make you dangerous behind the wheel. If you are not entirely alert and in control, you should not be driving.

Reduce stress by planning
Plan ahead to avoid stressful situations. Give yourself enough time to get to work in the morning without rushing and try as far as possible to avoid the worst of the dayís traffic by planning your routes and departure times carefully. Leaving home 15 or 20 minutes earlier, or later, can make a huge difference to the amount of traffic you may encounter.

Slow down
Speeding, changing lanes and flashing your lights wonít get you where you want to go before everyone else, but it will make your more hostile and impatient. Slow down and get to your destination safely.

Listen to relaxing music
As much as it may be difficult to prove that fast-paced or aggressive music makes for aggressive drivers, soothing music will calm you. Put on   music that relaxes you.

Take a break, breathe
Monitor your mood. If you start feeling tense or angry, relax your grip on the wheel, sit back and focus on breathing deeply. If necessary, pull over where it is safe to do so and breathe deeply until you have calmed down.

Be a compassionate driver
Donít take it personally when other drivers pull in front of you, hog the fast lane or speed across an amber traffic light. Remember, just like you, people make mistakes.

Donít shout, they canít hear you
Your fellow drivers cannot hear you when you shout at them, so why get yourself worked up for an audience of none?

Be courteous, itís a two-way street
How many times have you been allowed to pull out of a driveway, or merge into a lane because another driver was kind enough to let you through? Be courteous and kind to other motorists.

Avoid confrontation
If another driver calls you out on something you did wrong on the road, apologise. If you have something to say to another driver who has made you angry, rather donít say anything at all. You donít know them and you probably wonít ever see them again, so whatís the point? Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

Keep calm after an accident
Accidents or even a bumper bashing can be very stressful for everyone involved. Try to stay calm and focus on following the steps outlined in this beginnerís guide to dealingwith an accident scene. Download the AA Rescue App to your smartphone. In case of an emergency, simply click on the Rescue Me button & we will contact you and make sure you get the help you need - whether it is an ambulance, the police or a breakdown service.

In May this year, a motorist shot and killed another motorist in an apparent road rage incident in Kempton Park. While this is an extreme case of road rage, remember that your actions behind the wheel can have serious consequences for you and your family. Learn to control your road rage, try to apply the above tips and stay safe behind the wheel. 

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