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September 22, 2015

Got Road Rage? AskPatty Shares Some Tips To Help You With That

Road_rage-iStock_000017748269_SmallStudies show that up to 1,500 people are injured or killed in road rage incidents each year. According to the National Safety Council, motorists rate road rage as a top threat to highway safety. Road-rage-related deaths and injuries are always tragic, and almost completely avoidable.

Everybody knows it can be stressful driving during peak traffic times, especially as temperatures rise and tempers start to fray. Congested roads, busy schedules, and idiots on the road are a fact of life. No one likes to be trapped in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and even I admit that there's been a few times I've imagined taking my little car off road just to get out of frustrating traffic jams.

Now that summer is over, our roads are packed with students commuting back and forth to school, in addition to the regular business people on the road during typical rush hours.

Road_rage-iStock_000005370988_SmallAskPatty joins with Hastings & Hastings,  a discount accident lawyer firm in Arizona, to encourage drivers to consider traffic conditions before they begin their commute. If commuters know ahead of time that they are going to be encountering difficult traffic conditions, they can plan ahead accordingly. Drivers can leave 15 to 20 minutes early to ensure that they can arrive to their destination on time. A good deal of driving stress is the result of poor planning. A commuter who is stuck in traffic knowing they're going to be late to their destination experiences more stress then a commuter stuck in the same traffic who will be arriving on time.

Stress is one of the leading causes of road rage. It can build slowly over time without drivers even realizing they are under its effects. The result of this stress may be what psychiatrists call "intermittent explosive disorder" or IED. This is the rage that gathers as a result of a number of minor incidents. Getting cut off once or twice may be a minor annoyance; being tailgated, honked at, cutoff, or sped by 10-15 times during a commute could lead to IED.

"I encourage people to engage in stress management as a way to reduce road rage. Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and get some exercise, these are all excellent ways to reduce your stress level. If you find yourself experiencing some anger while driving, maybe take a deep breath and count to ten," said David Hastings, founder of Hastings & Hastings. 

Road_rage-iStock_000050696564_SmallAlso, even when frustrated, you should try to thoughtfully consider other drivers. It’s risky to drive carelessly or in such a way that could provoke other drivers in unpredictable ways. Emil Coccaro, a professor and psychiatrist at the University of Chicago, said in an interview with Pacific Standard Magazine, “You’re in a car, and it's kind of a weapon, and you're in a protected environment, and you think no one's going to be able to get to you.” So, if you get cut off by another driver, you might feel that you can give them the finger without any direct consequence. The problem is, you don’t have any idea how the other person will respond to that provocation. You never know who you might run into or how angry they will get.

To illustrate this, the state of Georgia produced a public service announcement about road rage starring heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield. In the video, Holyfield pulls out of a tree-lined driveway in his luxury SUV, only to cut off some bubba in a beat-up pickup truck by accident. What happens next?

Being stuck in traffic is stressful and can bring out the worst in anybody. AskPatty reminds you to take steps to prevent road rage and ensure your safety while driving.


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