How to Prevent Road Rage
Here's How To Stop Your Road Rage And Have A More Pleasant Ride
Shorten The Ride With Scent
Trade in that pine-scented air freshener for a peppermint candy or cinnamon stick. In a NASA-funded study, scientists from Wheeling Jesuit University monitored the emotional responses of 25 college students during simulated driving scenarios. The volunteers reported that peppermint lowered their feelings of anxiety and fatigue by 20%. Peppermint and cinnamon each decreased their frustration by 25%, increased alertness by 30%, and made the ride seem 30% shorter. You can buy peppermint and cinnamon oils and aromatherapy diffusers for the car at health food stores.
MORE:9 Aromatherapy Tricks That Can Do Everything From Turn You On To Help You Lose Weight
Do As The Doctor Does: 3 Tips From Former Aggressive Drivers
James is a reformed aggressive driver. He often took risks on the road, such as weaving in and out of lanes. “I acted like I was in a hurry all the time, even when I wasn’t,” he says. “It becomes a habit. People who have a habit of getting ahead of everybody else get panicky when they get stuck behind somebody.” Now, James is much more relaxed in the driver’s seat. It took several years of battling with his wife—who insisted that drivers should consider their passenger’s feelings and safety—to realize that she was right. “I carried a tape recorder in the car and spoke my thoughts out loud, then listened to it later,” says James. From there, it was a matter of “one little skill at a time.”“The one thing that’s most helpful is to learn to leave earlier,” he says, and he regularly allows an extra 15 to 20 minutes to reach his destination. “The same events do not stress me out as before,” he says. “I am able to be patient.”
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Nerenberg uses what he calls the “Power Thought System” to keep negative thoughts from arising and overpowering drivers. Remind yourself—hourly, if possible, and never fewer than 6 times a day—of how you want to be on the road. Think, for example: “I’m going to keep control over myself. I’m not turning control over to you.” You’ll learn to turn away destructive thoughts.
Martha Howard, MD, used to commute a very stressful 16 miles, often twice a day. “I would find myself getting very irritated and annoyed behind the wheel,” she says. “‘This is bad for my health,’ I realized. This is going to kill me. They say hostility is the biggest risk factor for heart attacks, a bigger risk factor even than smoking.I started listening to Buddhist lecture tapes while driving. One tape had a car meditation exercise by Thich Nhat Hanh, a famous Buddhist monk. For the exercise, you use the brake light in the car in front of you as a mindfulness wake-up call. When the driver in front of you brakes, instead of cursing and pounding the steering wheel, take it as your cue to breathe and smile and relax. Smiling in itself is huge; just putting your face in a smile changes your body chemistry and helps you relax.”
Are You An Aggressive Driver?
James created the following test for aggressive drivers. The 20 items are arranged along a continuum of escalating degrees of hostility experienced by drivers, beginning with relatively milder forms of aggressiveness (step 1) and going all the way to ultimate violence (step 20). The majority of drivers James tested go as far as step 13. How far down the uncivilized road do you allow yourself to travel?
- Mentally condemning other drivers
- Verbally denigrating other drivers to a passenger in your vehicle
- Closing ranks to deny someone access to your lane because you’re frustrated or upset
- Giving another driver the “stink eye” to show your disapproval
- Speeding past another car or revving the engine as a sign of protest
- Preventing another driver from passing because you’re angry
- Tailgating to pressure a driver to go faster or get out of the way
- Fantasizing physical violence against another driver
- Honking or yelling at someone through the window to indicate displeasure
- Making a visible obscene gesture at another driver
- Using your car to retaliate by making sudden, threatening maneuvers
- Pursuing another car in chase because of a provocation or insult
- Getting out of the car and engaging in a verbal dispute on a street or in a parking lot
- Carrying a weapon in the car in case you decide to use it in a driving incident
- Deliberately bumping or ramming another car in anger
- Trying to run another car off the road to punish the driver
- Getting out of the car and beating or battering someone as a result of an exchange on the road
- Trying to run someone down whose actions angered you
- Shooting at another car
- Killing someone
Panel Of Advisors
Martha Howard, MD,is medical director of Wellness Associates of Chicago, an integrative medicine center.
Leon James, PhD,is a professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. He has researched aggressive driving for more than 20 years and is coathor, with his wife, Diane Nahl, ofRoad Rage and Aggressive Driving.Dr. James and Dr. Nahl operate the website DrDriving.org and are the creators of an anti-aggressive driving video series calledRoadrageous.
Diane Nahl, PhD,is a professor and information scientist at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. She has studied aggressive driving for more than 20 years.
Arnold P. Nerenberg, PhD,is a psychologist in Whittier, California, and a longtime road-rage researcher. He is coauthor of the American Institute for Public Safety's road rage program and author ofA 10-Step Compassion Program,for learning to overcome angry driving.
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But its clearly been reborn, just like the Boeing 727 home. In its former life, the 727 plane flew on routes conducted by South Africa Air and the Colombian aviation company Avianca Airlines. You could say its now enjoying its life in retirement