Five Steps to Stopping Your Road Rage (this time for real)

Do you promise yourself that you will never road rage again, but keep falling into its trap? Here’s what you REALLY need to know about stopping road rage.

Step one to stopping road rage – EXPECT the environment

Many of us that road rage are perfectly normal, mostly level headed, and genuinely nice people who mean well and do not want to hurt anyone – but why to we become such frustrated monsters sometimes behind the wheel?

I’ll tell you why….

It’s the environment.

We are reasonable people thrust into an unreasonable environment.

An unfair one.

Though it’s mostly inadvertent, other drivers are rude. They are slow and sometimes they do not know where they are going. They have poor judgement, they are lazy when it comes to turning their heads, and they do not understand how much better life would be if we all treated the left lane as a passing lane.

The poor judgement, combined with laziness, leads to them pulling out (or changing lanes) in front of you, making you slam on your brakes, and then they drive 20 miles per hour slower than you were going in the first plane (OMG – so frustrating).

For some, driving is like a competition. Even though it won’t slow them down, they will not let you in front of them. It’s a third-grade like response to cutting in line at the cafeteria. Never mind that you intended to drive faster than them once in front, they way they see it, you are cutting in line and that’s not “fair”.

Some drivers will, for no reason, get REALLY close to you prior to changing lanes, risking everyone’s life (or at least a fender-bender resulting in hours of insurance paperwork and body-shop time costs)…. for NO REASON.

Some drivers are just downright mean and have no remorse (expand on that).

More examples here.

Well I have a news flash…

It’s not going to change.

A certain percentage of the population share these issues. You can’t teach them and it’s never going away. Evolution cares about the species, not the individuals that have to suffer through our diversity.

So how can we handle being trapped on the same planet as these people?

For one, don’t be so arrogant to think that you are superior and you are cursed for having to share the earth with them.

If anything, you should feel bad for them and try to help them.

Why?

Because it could just as easily have been you with those traits. If you had their genes and if you were brought up in their environment, you would be exactly like them. And that’s all luck of who’s chromosomes you received and who raised you – it’s not like you have some skill that you “deserve”.

You should feel especially bad for the ones that are just plain “mean”. What kind of life do you think they have as a result of them constantly violating the world’s principle of “you get what you give”? What kind of friends, work, and family relationships do you think they are capable of having when they are constantly mean to and mistreating them all the while? Nice life.

Be thankful that it was not you who flopped out of your mom’s (insert your preferred slang word for a female’s private part) unlucky enough to be born with this type of handicap.

So , again, EXPECT to encounter this environment whenever you are behind the wheel.

Just like your diet is ruined by a surprise birthday cake, or a holiday BBQ hitting 3 days after you decided to eat healthy.

The point is – it will be something. It’s always something. And when you are behind the wheel, you don’t know what it’s going to be – but you know it’s going to be something.  You know it already.

Avoid road rage by being ready to unexpectedly be a victim of your environment.

Step two to stopping road rage – know your GOAL for driving

stopping road rageWhat’s your goal when you drive?

To get from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time with a reasonable amount of safety. That’s what it is.

To avoid road rage, always consider your goal when you are driving.

If someone cuts you off, but then steps on it and wants to drive fast anyway, does that mess up your goal? Not at all. They probably have the same goal – and while for a second there it looked like they were going to screw up your goal – they really didn’t. So you can let that one slide.

If another driver is driving slow in the left lane in front of you and there is room to go around them, does it make sense to get all the way up to where you are practically going to hit them (to prove a point) before changing lanes get you closer to your goal?

No, it contradicts your goal.

It makes things less safe. The other driver is not going to understand that you did it to “punish them” for driving slow in the left lane.

Yes slow left lane drivers are either selfish or unaware and it annoys me too, but think about the goal.

Does “brake-checking” someone who is tailgating you get you closer to your goal?

Nope.

Finally, if you get into an all out fist fight (or worse) with another driver, and you end up hurting him, getting hurt, getting arrested, going to jail for assault, etc, does that get you from point A to point B with a reasonable amount of safety and in a reasonable amount of time.

No it does not.

In fact, it is a dumb-ass position t put yourself into. It couldn’t be further from your goal and it’s going to suck.

So the next time you start to road rage, think about your “goal”.  There is virtually no act of road rage that gets you closer to it – in fact, it can only get you extremely stupidly and extremely away from your ultimate goal of being in the car in the first place.

Avoid road rage by thinking about your goal when you drive.

Step three to stopping road rage – realize that being angry is OK

It’s not the road rage that’s the big problem here – it’s your REACTION to your anger that could land you in jail or bring harm to someone’s family.

Stop judging yourself for getting upset behind the wheel. Instead, judge yourself on the ability to act like an evolved human being despite your extreme anger.

Try to change the subject in your own mind quickly if you can, but don’t kick yourself for stewing over a road rage situation.

Give yourself a pass for getting “more mad than you should have”. Only hold yourself accountable for how you treat your fellow human counterpart.

If you can get this in your head the next time you are angry – you pretty much beat road rage.

Step four to stopping road rage – be “introspective” about your life

Stop everything for a sec…

Look at yourself. Your life.

Are you a good person? If you are a Christian, do you think you will go to heaven?

If you are an atheist, do you feel that you properly served the universe with your presence? If you are Buddhist, do you act in a way to help others suffer less, let alone more?

We all think we are such great persons, but are we really?

What would you think about a person who was mad over a driving issue, threw a temper tantrum like a child, and then brake-checked a housewife who was driving with a child in the car? How about someone who stressed out an elderly person for them to become terminally ill the next day. Some five year old girl’s grandma, for example.

What if you killed somebody. A husband and a father, for example.

Or what if you just ruined some guys evening?

Is this excellence? is this who you want to be? How you want the world to remember you? How you wished to be judged?

I know it isn’t, of course. You wouldn’t be reading this if that were the case.

I’m just harshly trying to make a point that you are acting in a way that does not serve your values or your goals, and you might consider writing off that behavior for good.

Make a decision to never REACT behind the wheel in an act of road rage again.

You have to KNOW that you have decided that this is not how you are, and regardless of your environment you will never act this way again.

It’s kind of like a smoker who thinks they will “maybe try” to quit. Good luck.

Only the smoker who says, “I will never smoke another cigarette again” might have success.

It’s up to you to decide to quit road rage for good.

Step five to stopping road rage – recognize the pain and difficulty that comes with changing your values

So you’re aware of your environment. You know your goal of why you are driving in the first place. You know not to judge yourself on your anger. You have decided not to ever be a crappy person again.

Now comes the pain.

You must change your values.

You can do it,  but it’s not going to be pleasant.

Your instinctive brain will be fighting you – the part of your mind that is designed and pre-conditioned to keep all of human kind alive and procreating.

Anytime you decide to change your values, you are going to need to put in some work. It will take self awareness and a conscious effort.

The good news is that is doable. You got this.

Please leave a comment with any of your success or failures with road rage. You can vent about the things that make you mad (remember that is is totally OK to be mad). I’d appreciate that.

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