High Temps + Hot Tempers = The Road Rage Driver
Road rage seems to go hand in hand to those who has drive in the South during the Summer’s hot days. Aggressive driving is a year-round phenomenon that seems to get worse as the sun’s heat quickly evaporates our patience and southern charm courtesies.
For most, we share a few common factors that contribute to the aggressive driving and road rage of our time. It’s everyday things like getting the kids ready in the morning, running late for appointments, road construction and traffic congestion that are always testing us. However, in the heat of the summer, they all seem to be amplified. Not to mention, we also have the stress of just being too damn hot on top of everything else. And when we are too damn hot, we are uncomfortable and that spells LOOK OUT when you get behind the wheel. Because when climbing into your car when it’s 90+ degrees outside, and the interior of the car is approaching 130 degrees, that’s enough to evaporate even the patience of Mother Theresa.
Hot, stressed and frustrated, all it takes is one inconsiderate motorist to cross our path, and a normally safe and sane driver turns into Mr. Hyde of the Highway. None of us set out on our commute intending to terrorize, maim or act like an absolute idiot. Being aware of a few things could help prevent us from looking like a madman, or worse, causing injury and becoming a statistic.
7 Warning Signs Road Rage Is Creeping Up On You
1. Be Self-Aware
Just as we should be aware of the condition of our car, tires, it’s temperature, and fuel level, we need to be sure we are in the optimum condition to drive. Feelings of hunger, anger, or being tired will dramatically affect our ability to control our emotions and our driving temper when stress and heat are at play.
2. Accept That If You Are Late, Well … You’re Just Late
There is nothing we can do if we are running late to an appointment, for work or to drop the kids off. No matter how fast we drive, how many people we cut in front of, or how many yellow lights we bust through, we will still be late. Call ahead and let them know you’ll be delayed a few minutes if possible. Create a situation within your control that’s in your favor when outside circumstances are not.
3. Yelling At Him Punishes Us
Being intentionally rude, discourteous, or inconsiderate of others leaves a toxin in our emotions that can upset the entire day regardless of heat or stress. The terrible-two’s tantrum-like behavior ultimately lowers our opinion of ourselves and begins our day with a feeling of inadequacy.
4. Remember That Some People Are Just Stupid
Most of the other drivers we share the road with are just as stressed as we are, especially in the summer heat. However, some are just too stupid or aware to know their behavior angers or endangers others, and road rage never helps the situation. If we make a conscious decision to be as polite on the road as we are at dinner, it can lower not only our stress but also the other driver’s. We can do anything about the few stupid ones, other than stay out of their way. You can’t fix stupid, and it will only irritate us to try.
5. It Isn’t Personal
No one on our commute is out to get us directly with road rage, though it may feel like it. There is no conspiracy to make us late or waste our time in traffic. It just is what it is. A fact of life in today’s motorized age. Honestly, the guy who cut in front of us didn’t do it because we were in the car. They simply had a lapse of good manners. If the same thing happened in the grocery store, we wouldn’t consider beating him to death with a can of pork and beans. So why do we want to smash him with a two-ton chunk of metal on wheels? It’s best to just remain calm, take a couple of deep breaths and remain in control.
6. Just Accept That It’s Going To Happen
Thinking we can drive about the streets of any major city and not encounter bad or road rage drivers is as silly as thinking we can take a bath without getting wet. When you know they are out there lingering around the next on/off ramp, stop sign and parking lot, you’re prepared, and that keeps you in the driver’s seat of your emotions. Remember, patience is a learned virtue that gets better with each bad driver you simply choose to ignore.
7. Sometimes It Is Hard To Ignore The Behavior Of Others
An aggressive driver that has flipped into road rage can be a dangerous thing. If we respond to their anger it will only escalate the issue and the day will go downhill fast with one crazy drive going after another. People have been shot over minor driving mistakes because they succumb to retaliation instead of empathy. Avoid that all together, wave an apology and drive on normally when confronted with an irate fellow motorist. Don’t let their anger drive your car or worse, you.
Safe driving is the responsibility of each of us individually. A responsibility we accepted when we applied for our driver license. Bigger picture through, a courtesy shown to another driver just may inspire them to share a similar courtesy at the next intersection instead being an instigator or road rage. If we drive each trip as if our mother were in the car, we would probably arrive at our destination with lower blood pressure, our sanity intact and less effected by the heat overall.
It can get crazy out there in the concrete jungles of our towns and cities. Just keep calm and drive on, friends, and live to enjoy another day.
Check out our podcast episode on teaching young and new drivers about driver safety HERE. For more information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on road rage, click –> NHTSA – Risky Driving