A new survey puiblished by CareerBuilder.com confirms what we have suspected for a long time: most commuters admit to experiencing road rage while traveling to and from work.
This may include yelling, horn-honking, and hand gestures which give your estimation of the IQ of the other driver!
The survey, based on more than 2200 workers from June 6th-June 16th, 2006, showed that 59% of workers said they had road rage during their commute.
This frustration and anger obviously sets a negative tone for the work day and causes 20% of workers to say that they would take a job with a pay cut in exchange for a shorter distance between their home and their workplace.
Rather than arriving at your workplace upset and stessed, try the following tactics to reduce your angry feelings:
1. Give yourself more commute time. Leaving 15 minutes earlier can save a lot of stress.
2. Ignore bad drivers on the road. You may become upset because of your expectations of the drivers – try to accept that some people are just bad, rude, or inconsiderate drivers.
3. Don’t take bad driving by others personally. It has nothing to do with you as a person.
4. Try to shift your attention elsewhere. Listen to music or to talk radio.
News item: “A 32-year-old Payson man learned that lesson the hard way Sunday. He was driving down a street in Orem (Utah) with his wife and children when he exchanged angry words with a local man. The Orem man pursued the family and tailgated their Chevy Suburban. In the heat of the moment, the Payson man stomped on the brakes. In the collision, his wife suffered neck injuries. Both men were cited for reckless driving and disorderly conduct.”
As this news story illustrates, the cost is often very high to losing one’s temper and not controlling anger on the road and elsewhere.
Costs can be calculated in financial as well as emotional and social terms. This man has to live with the fact that he injured his wife and probably traumatized his children. He also has to live with himself and perhaps his lowered self-esteem.
As we teach in our anger management classes, aggressive driving is often a “dance” with both parties participating and thus escalating each other’s anger.
Rather than “dancing,” it is better to ignore the poor driving of the other person rather than retaliating. Hostility begets more hostility, as this driver found out.
A very useful anger management tool to use in these situation is changing “self-talk” to calm oneself down. Self talk allows you to put things in perspective and think rationally rather than emotionally with medisavvy. Click here for a free article on using self-talk and other anger management tools to deal with aggressive driving.