How to manage - and avoid - road rage


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Many of us have experienced road rage but it is futile and can be deadly. Read this advice from Admiral on how to avoid the red mist


The stress of modern driving is taking its toll on motorists, whether it's being cut up by another driver or just general rudeness, the morning commute has become a battlefield.

In Admiral's Survey of UK Motorists 2013 carried out by YouGov, nearly half of UK drivers admitted to experiencing road rage and nearly a third said they experienced it more than once a week.

Road rage doesn't just mean shouting verbal abuse through the windscreen or prolific use of hand gestures; it can also cause you to drive in an aggressive fashion. Worryingly eight per cent of drivers in Admiral's Survey said they had followed another driver as a result of road rage.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), commented on the findings and said that while safe driving requires concentration and a responsible attitude to other drivers, our mood and the actions of others can affect how safely you drive.

Kevin went on to say, "Unfortunately, this can result in some drivers getting angry and stressed and taking this out on other people by tailgating, exceeding speed limits, undertaking, and generally driving aggressively. This sort of driving increases the chances of the angry driver causing an accident, which in the worst cases, can mean people losing their lives."

When you put it in that context, the possibility of losing your life over someone driving a bit too slowly, it all seems a bit ridiculous really. We asked transport psychologist and behavioural expert, Dr Peter Marsh why driving can turn even the most mild mannered of you, into monsters.

He said often drivers think of their cars as their 'territory' or 'home turf' and as humans are programmed to protect it. Likewise, when they are in their cars they feel protected from the outside world.

Dr Marsh also said being in your car gives a sense of mastery and self-control you may not have in other areas of your life, so it gives you a chance to feel in charge and in control.

But obviously this is not just something we should accept and choose to live with, road rage is dangerous and destructive and something we should definitely try to avoid.

With the help of Dr Marsh we have come up with four top tips to avoid road rage.

  1. Opening a window will reduce feelings of invulnerability. This should help to remind us just because we are in our car we are not completely shielded from the outside world
  2. Regain control of the situation by embracing a sense of mastery; try to rise above it all. Dr Marsh suggests 'adopting a Zen-like' pose of serenity and superiority
  3. If you do find your mood affected by poor driving and you find yourself getting angry, RoSPA advise finding a safe place to stop, away from danger, and taking a moment to relax
  4. If you become a victim of road rage and another driver starts following or tail-gating you, then head towards a public place or a local police station. If necessary call the police but whatever you do, don't let them follow you home.

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