I can’t count on both hands how many times while driving I’ve either been completely cut off by another car without a hint of a turn signal or almost side swiped by someone who changes lanes without bothering to check to see if someone was already in the other lane. And every single time my kids are in the car. The next thing you know, I hear myself yelling out “You idiot!” and “What are you doing?”
It infuriates me when people are careless and distracted while driving thus putting other peoples lives in danger in the process. It’s like they don’t truly understand how easily a life can be taken while inside a moving vehicle. The lives of my children are too valuable and too precious to allow a distracted fool take them away from me. So here’s what I’ve been doing to help deal with the anger and road rage that follows.
1. Accept what I cannot change.
The serenity prayer is very helpful in a situation such as this. Unfortunately, we cannot change the way another person chooses to drive, but we can change our way of thinking and how we respond irresponsible drivers. It’s certainly not an easy thing to do, but like everything else in life it takes time and practice.
2. Allow the other driver to win.
If you see someone driving like a bat outta hell going 20 miles over the speed limit, if possible, let them pass you by. If it looks like someone is about to switch lanes quickly, let them if you can. In other words, if you’re able to spot reckless driving ahead of time, count yourself lucky and allow the other driver to aggressively make it to his destination [if he makes it]. It’s certainly not worth it to challenge someone who has a death wish.
3. Fear the Unknown.
A healthy dose of fear is vital for survival. It is never OK to get confrontational or aggressive with another driver. The truth of the matter is, they may be an even bigger fool than you are. If the other person pulls out a gun and shoots you, you would have barely seen it coming because you were too busy unleashing your anger to know that your real danger is now and in this moment. So if you value your life, and of those in your vehicle, keep your mouth closed and obscene gestures to yourself.
4. Use it as a learning tool.
Whenever we are involved in a near accident, I remind my older children about the importance of not being distracted while driving. I also let them know how important defensive driving is and being aware of what others aren’t. If one driver is not paying attention but the other is, well there’s a good chance an accident can be avoided. But if both drivers are distracted, then there’s not a chance at all.
5. Be grateful.
Look on the bright side, you could be seriously hurt or dead. This is the glass is half full perspective. One thing I’ve learned is that it’s difficult to be angry at the negatives when you’re grateful for the positives.