Road rage puts us all at risk! Here’s how to stay cool under the collar

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Grey nomads and road rage
Calm down! Everyone makes mistakes.

As more and more caravanners and motorhomers hit the open road, there has inevitably been a sharp rise in the number of drivers frustrated by heavy traffic or by vehicles which are perceived to be moving too slowly.

While some commentators like to ‘joke’ about grey nomads’ driving habits, it is no laughing matter to be on the receiving end of abuse or angry gestures from other drivers.

And grey nomads can be just as guilty of a degree of road rage as everyone else. And it’s a dangerous place to be.

Research has shown various cognitive functions, such as attention, reasoning, judgement and decision-making, can all be impaired by driving angry. So, how can travellers avoid falling into the ‘anger trap’?

Australian clinical psychologists Dr Stan Steindl and Dr James Kirby say there are things we can do. – Watch out for the illusion of control. Remember, 80% of drivers believe their driving skills are above average!

– Remember our common humanity. We’re all human beings trying to do the best we can in difficult circumstances.

– Don’t jump to the conclusion that other drivers are doing what they do on the road to affect us personally. – Avoid blame and punishment, and be forgiving. We all make mistakes.

– Let go of the struggle. Getting upset by red lights, traffic, delays, or inconsiderate drivers will only make matters worse.

– Don’t drive angry – Breathe slowly. Find a way to breathe that soothes you, and reduces the physiological arousal associated with anger.

– Speak to yourself in a friendly, reassuring voice. “Oh, that was a close call. You’re safe and all is okay. That person made a mistake, and we all make mistakes.”

– Focus your attention on safe, calm driving, and arriving at your destination safely.

  • Have you been guilty of driving angry? Email us here to share your experiences.

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