By Judi LaPan, One Goal Fitness
Aggressive driving – is on the rise. Do you know how to stay out of harm’s way?
A year ago, according to news reports, Corrine Leclair-Holler, then 29, was talking on her cellphone while driving in Concord, N.H. Another driver, Carissa Williams, then 23, yelled at her, and then pulled ahead. When she reached a freeway on-ramp, Williams stopped her car, got out (leaving her own baby in the car), climbed into Leclair-Holler’s car, and shot her with a stun gun — despite Leclair-Holler’s cries that she was pregnant.
Leclair-Holler and her baby were fine. Williams was convicted of assault as well as criminal trespass and endangering the welfare of a minor. She now faces up to 20 years in prison.
Hundreds of road-rage incidents like this one are reported every year in the United States. Road rage includes cutting people off, hitting one car with another, running someone off the road, and shooting or physically assaulting other drivers or passengers.
Causes of Road Rage
Young men initiate most road-rage incidents, but anyone can feel rage behind the wheel. That’s because anyone can take offense at what they think another driver is doing. Other factors that trigger road rage include stress and an innate feeling of intense territoriality that is suddenly threatened by another driver.
Healing From Road Rage
Getting over road rage entails a lifelong program of self-improvement. What’s the cure? Recognizing and controlling aggressive thoughts, feelings, and actions are key. Cultivating compassion may also help.
Avoid angering others. Drive the speed limit, use turn signals, obey traffic signs and signals, and yield whenever possible. Don’t gesture at other drivers, not even a headshake.
Get away from drivers who are angry or driving badly. Don’t stare, glare, honk, or retaliate — that fuels the fire. Instead, put distance between yourself and that driver. If he or she becomes truly threatening, drive to a police station or crowded public place.
Manage your own anger by empathizing with the other driver (assume he or she is having a hard day or made an honest mistake), leaving for your destination early (so you’re not stressed by being late), and using deep breathing or soothing music to relax.
Remember that you can’t control other drivers. You can only control your reactions to them.
By Susan Davis
WebMD the Magazine – Feature
Reviewed by Patricia A. Farrell, PhD
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