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How to Stay Zen Behind the Wheel


Do you ever get mad when you’re driving? Maybe you just mutter under your breath. Or maybe you honk your horn, yell and make rude gestures. Perhaps you even take a more active approach, cutting off offenders or slamming on your brakes. If so, it’s time you learned how to stay calm behind the wheel.

Few things can aggravate us the way bad drivers and poor road conditions can. Although some frustration may be normal, road rage is a serious issue.

Aggressive driving fueled by road rage can cause accidents. Road rage has also been known to lead to fights and even shootings. People who commit acts of road rage may be charged with criminal offences. Despite these serious consequences, road rage has continued to plague our streets:

  • In early April, a driver fired a gun at a family driving in Nanakuli, according to Hawaii News Now. The mother of the family reports that the driver had cut them off before he started shooting.
  • In March, a Honolulu man was punched multiple times during a road rage incident, Hawaii News Now reports. The incident was caught on camera.

Keep Your Cool

To avoid being in the next news article on road rage, you need to stay calm behind the wheel. Here are five tips to help you resist the rage.

  1. Give yourself plenty of time. When you’re in a hurry, you’re more likely to get angry about minor delays – and even more upset about big ones. Give yourself a little extra time so your heart won’t beat faster when the traffic starts to slow.
  2. Play relaxing music. The music you listen to can affect your mood. Keep the volume down and avoid tunes that make your blood boil. Check out this article from Fast Company to learn about music scientifically designed to calm your road rage.
  3. Don’t drive aggressively. If other drivers always seem mad at you, your driving habits might be the problem. Avoid speeding, changing lanes frequently, cutting people off, driving too close to other vehicles, slamming on your brakes unnecessarily and other dangerous driving habits.
  4. Don’t respond to dangerous drivers. You may feel justified in yelling at a driver who almost caused an accident but doing so won’t help you stay calm – and it may enrage the other person. Also, never follow anyone or get out of your car to confront someone. You may be tempted to give someone a piece of your mind, but it’s not worth it. If another driver gets out to confront you, remain in your car.
  5. Focus on what’s most important. Yes, the other driver is probably in the wrong, but the most important goal is that you and your passengers arrive safely at your destination. If you have kids or other loved ones in the car, you don’t want to take any chances. Even if you’re driving alone, there’s a lot at stake. Your loved ones are relying on you. Take the high road and focus on what matters most.

Remember … you’re dealing with a stranger who’s already shown dangerous and erratic tendencies. This person could have a weapon in the car. Take the high road. Resist the rage. Stay zen behind the wheel. Your safety is too important to make any other choice.