How to Combat Road Rage? Focus on the Journery Rather Than on the Destination


The average driver will admit that driving situations, especially the daily commute to and from work, are one of the most hectic and stressful times of the day. For some people this becomes an environment that promotes road rage, which is harmful not only to the driver but other travelers as well. By focusing on the journey rather than the destination, and keeping in mind some helpful techniques to calm and rationalize, road rage can become a thing of the past with a little practice.

Road rage is generally defined as aggressive or angry behavior in a driving situation, including but not limited to rude gestures, unsafe or threatening driving, verbal attacks and insults, threats, and so forth. Some specific examples are incredibly close and unwarranted tailgating, rolling down the window to swear at another driver, hitting the dashboard, and using the vehicle in order to intimidate or frighten.

In some cases road rage escalates and can result in confrontations, car accidents, and assault. Unchecked, road rage creates an unsafe environment, especially in crowded areas and on freeways, that is unwelcoming to other drivers.

Of course, many people dealing with road rage are in many cases justified in their complaints, but not the manner in which the complaint is handled. It might seem pertinent to make a comment to a young driver who has blatantly rolled through a stop sign, or to become frustrated when a traffic jam leads to a late arrival at work. However, the way these situations are handled affects the safety of the persons within the immediate vehicle and others as well, and even bicyclists and pedestrians.

Therefore, the best way to combat road rage is to focus on the journey rather than the destination. In this way, every little event in the driving experience – say, from home to work – forms a journey, rather than a list of impediments causing anger and frustration by the time one arrives at work.

In focusing on step by step journeys, someone who suffers from road rage will gradually be able to take things in a healthy context, and therefore react appropriately. For example, a little traffic congestion may lead someone to begin swearing, gesturing obscenely, and honking their horn. None of these three behaviors will in any way improve the situation at hand, no matter how intensely they might be conveyed. A healthy approach would include looking ahead to see if the congestion is due to regular bad traffic or something more serious like an accident. If the congestion seems to be heavy enough that one might be late for work, calling ahead and informing a supervisor will show responsibility and maturity. A better workday will no doubt be achieved when the employee isn’t fuming from yelling at sixteen other drivers that they had to intimidate into moving in order to bypass the congestion.

No matter how practical this advice may be, many drivers will still continue to display habits falling under the category of road rage. In these cases, it makes sense to not only concentrate on the journey rather than the destination, but to prepare adequately. Having a GPS device, maps, something to drink and eat, soothing music, a cell phone, and emergency supplies will not only keep a level of calm but allow for careful planning and the handling of stressful situations with greater ease. In a lot of cases the people suffering from road rage are simply doing so out of frustration at their own lack of knowing what to do; therefore, minimizing that feeling will decrease road rage.

In many ways road rage can be overcome through personal diligence and adherence to a few grounding principles, but in serious cases, professional anger management or road rage classes may be required to completely end the problem.

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