road-rage
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Avoiding driving stress and road rage

Sometimes things can get the better of us when we're out on the road, so we've put together some tips to help combat the anxiety.

If you feel anxious or nervous whenever you get behind the wheel, then you are not alone.

Many people get that sense of not being in control or being fearful that something bad could happen to them while driving.

This can especially come to the fore if you haven't driven for a long period of time, if you are driving on faster roads like a motorway, or if you are driving in an area you've never been before.

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This feeling can affect everyone, from the most experienced drivers to those that are learning or have only recently passed their test.

Driving requires you to keep your concentration at all times, and so we've put together some tips to help yourself combat the fear when you're out on the road.

Five ways to reduce stress while driving

Turn off your phone

Although this may not be possible in all circumstances, especially if you need your phone to act as a sat-nav, driving for a few hours with no distractions from your phone could be exactly what you need to relax and enjoy your own space.

Lead by example

Even if you are feeling a little overwhelmed, allow other road users to do what they need to do around you, like letting someone into a gap. This will reduce your stress and make you feel like you're in control of your surroundings.

Allow extra time

If you get caught up in traffic, this is only going to make your anxiety worse if you are supposed to be somewhere at a certain time. 

Leave earlier than you need to, just to give you some breathing room if anything were to go wrong.

Listen to something you enjoy

This is the perfect chance to listen to your favourite band's music or listen to an e-book or podcast. Driving can be relaxing if you allow your mind to rest.

Don't react to situations

If someone cuts you up or is acting aggressively, try not to react to the situation or let yourself get stressed by it, it's just not worth it.

Five main causes of driving stress

Others in the car

You may have children with you in the car who are arguing amongst each other, or you may have someone critiquing your driving. Whatever it may be, try not to let the people you're with stress you out otherwise it makes the journey feel a whole lot longer than it already was.

Bad weather

If the weather is rubbish, or the visibility is poor, it's easy to feel anxious because the conditions demand even more from you. If it's too much to take, then it's worth finding a safe space to stop to ride out the bad weather.

driving-stress

Too much going on

If you're trying to change the radio station or trying to re-route your sat-nav, for example, it can become a bit too much for you to take in while you're trying to concentrate on the road.

If you need to do anything while driving, pull over and sort it out while you're stationary; it'll be much easier and less demanding for yourself.

Mentality before you get in the car

If you get into the car while you're already feeling stressed or angry, you're setting yourself up for a really bad journey.

The slightest of things can make you feel a whole lot worse, so consider your mental state before getting behind the wheel.

Lack of planning

If you don't really know where you're going and feel you're going round in circles, this can cause so much anxiety and frustration.

Consider your route before you set off and have backups if you get diverted for whatever reason.

Road rage

Road rage is an act of aggression from one road user to another that is generally caused by an unprovoked situation.

Types of road rage can include verbal or physical abuse, using rude or aggressive gestures towards another person, or driving dangerously to purposely cause intimidation or release frustration.

It can be inferred as a type of stress because something that someone else has done has caused you to react in a certain way which generally helps alleviate any grievances you have in that incident.

female-road-rage

While driving, particularly at high speeds, road rage can be fatal, and giving that tailgater behind you a lesson by slamming on your breaks at 70mph could be the last thing either of you ever do.

Therefore it's important to react to these situations in a calm manner and not allow it to physically or mentally impact your driving.

If you are caught by police committing disorderly conduct, such as rude and offensive gestures at other road users, you could be fined up to £1,000.

Road rage could lead to an actual collision between your car and another and you could be hit with hefty insurance fees if it was your fault or even charged with causing criminal damage.

If you ever get into a bout of road rage with another road user, be very careful, particularly if you are on a B-road or approaching traffic or traffic lights.

Some may see that as an opportunity to get out of their car and talk to you face-to-face which could lead to things turning nasty and a violent incident occurring.

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If you are ever confronted by someone, the best thing for you to do is lock your doors so they can't be opened, avoid inflaming the situation by making eye contact or trying to reason with them, recording the audio of what's going on while keeping your phone out of sight, and also making a note of their number plate, car make and model.

It's not worth the risk as you don't know just how aggressive others can be or how far they could be willing to take their road rage.

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