Managing stress

Stress

Road rage

Whether it’s ‘creative’ hand gestures, flashing head lamps or honking horns, most of us have been victim to road rage in one of its many forms. If possible you want to avoid it altogether but it helps to know how to manage a situation too.

Avoiding trouble

  • Keep your own stress level low by allowing plenty of time for your journey and ensuring you know where you are going
  • Be polite and courteous, even when other drivers behave unreasonably
  • If you see someone driving badly, don’t react to it and don’t take it personally. We all make mistakes on occasion
  • If a driver is tailgating you and desperate to get past, let them pass as soon as it’s safe
  • Avoid confrontation. Stay calm, don't allow yourself to be provoked or answer back
  • If you make an error of judgement, wave an apology to placate the other driver
  • Drive with your doors locked
  • Keep the sunroof and windows closed if you're forced to move slowly in areas where you feel uncomfortable
  • Never give lifts to strangers

Dealing with it

  • Be prepared for the worst but hope for the best. Be ready for rudeness or aggression from other drivers
  • If you feel threatened, remember that your primary aim is to defuse any awkward situation and get away
  • If another car pulls up alongside or harasses you, avoid eye contact
  • How much do you know about a driver who is verbally abusing you? Probably nothing. You have no idea what kind of a day they’re having, whether they have a weapon, or if they have deep-rooted psychological problems. The best thing is to have no contact with them at all
  • If you have to stop, stay in the car with the doors locked and engine running, ready to drive off
  • If you are followed, drive on carefully to the nearest police station or a busy place such as a garage forecourt
  • Use the horn and hazard warning lights to attract attention
  • If you have a mobile phone, call the police for help
  • Memorise the registration number of the other car, its make and colour, and anything you can about the driver's description

Attitude

  • Try never to feel hurried or pressurised as you start a drive
  • Beware of arguments before driving. If you quarrel with someone, allow a few minutes to cool down before setting off
  • Don't allow yourself to be preoccupied with something else when you're driving. Read how in-car gadgets can distract you while driving.

Health

  • Try to avoid driving if you feel unwell or distracted for any reason
  • Don't drink even a small amount of alcohol before driving
  • When taking any medication, whether it’s prescription or over-the-counter, check with the doctor or pharmacist about whether they might cause problems with driving

Safe to drive

Your state of mind is a vital element in safe driving. To drive safely you should be calm, relaxed and alert.

Helping others

If you observe someone else being harassed, don't be tempted to assist on your own. Call the police from your mobile phone if you can.

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