Guys, During our day to day commute, most of us would have experienced road rage - either initiated by someone or sometimes, by ourselves. I found this nice article about this subject and felt it might be useful and will also lead to a healthy discussion about how we handle this menace. According to the US Department of Transportation, if you drive to and from work each day, it's likely that you spend at least an hour of each day in your car. And sometimes, time spent in the car can skew your usual, placid self and change you into a raging bull of self-righteousness. Yet, remaining calm during an episode of road rage, whether directed at you or welling up from within you, is vital to keeping focused, minimizing your stress levels and coming out of the experienced safely. Road rage involves behaviors like obscene or provocative gestures, yelling, cursing and tailgating. It can also involve stopping of a car and walking up to yell or rant at another driver. In some cases, physical violence is involved, which is something you definitely want to avoid happening, so this article is targeted at the first set of behaviors and keeping yourself calm, to avoid escalating into physical contact or being followed by the road rage driver or victim. Road rage from another Consider why the other person is showing signs of road rage toward you, such as giving you the finger. Are you cutting them off, speeding up when they need to get over, or going too slowly in the faster lane? If it's not your driving, maybe you have a bumper sticker that has caused them to react badly? Obviously, there are plenty of other reasons for another person's road rage antics but if you're somehow contributing, it's good to know so that you can try and change the behavior that might be provoking it. Conceive of the person in road rage as being human. Just like you, this person commutes. Just like you, this person has a range of experiences throughout the day. Like you, this person hates traffic jams, snarls and breathing in car fumes. And just like you, this person isn't always perfect. However, perhaps unlike you, this person may have had some over-the-top experiences that have lead them to misbehave on the road at this time. For some, for some drivers the road brings out their most primitive urges and causes them to see driving as a form of competition or power play, in which they need to prove to others that they're in control and that you're simply in their way or not playing by their rules. This doesn't excuse their behavior by any means but it does help you to realize that this person's thinking processes are probably really screwed up. Which is all the more reason for you to remain as calm as possible so that you respond clearly and continue to see their humanness. Most reasons that might have caused this person to misbehave on the road can involve an element of irrationality or righteousness which you need to be careful not to give further justification to. Reasons may include: Fatigue Having had a bad day Drugs or alcohol Co-travelers bothering them or egging them on Anger at life in general Fears or anxiety about driving or being in traffic An urgent need to get somewhere. Slow down, move over, and allow them to pass. Most people who are angry are in a hurry to get somewhere (even if it's not important, it seems so to them), and convince themselves that you're getting in their way. Make your goal to avoid any contact - the farther and faster they leave you in the dust, the better. If necessary, change your route to avoid further contact. You'll be more calm when you get to your destination. Use humor to deflect the rage. When someone gives you the finger, and you want to remain calm, pretend that they are telling you that you're number one. Or just laugh off their obscene gestures or yelling. Think of them as a goldfish stuck in a tank, mouthing away. Focus on when you're out of the traffic and away from this upsetting behavior. Think about what you're going to do when you get home. A relaxing bath, crawling into bed, reading, etc. Think about your children, your family or your friends and spending time with them shortly. Ignore the road rage behavior. Act as if they flipped off or yelled at the car next to, or behind, you. Just stare straight ahead, oblivious. Smile. Smiling at the road rager is the nice way to annoy them. Kill 'em with kindness. Turn the radio on to your favorite station. Sing along to the music, to get your mind off rush hour traffic; don't be afraid to turn that music way up. Or, choose music that you find soothing rather than arousing or lively. Either way, you should be able to create a bubble between yourself and the rudely gesturing blusterer beyond your car. Alternatively, plug in the iPod and listen to a podcast you're eager to hear. Or listen to an audiobook. Self calming after you initiated the road rage Confront your own penchant for misbehaving on the road. While it's not pretty to admit that you give in to moments of animosity and ugly gestures while out driving, if you do, it's important to acknowledge it so that you can do something about it. Signs you're participating in road rage include: Foul looks, glaring in the rear vision mirror Muttering under your breath and grumbling Mouthing insults or yelling, perhaps even shaking your fists Tailgating Feeling anger about other drivers. Be aware of how your physiological system responds when you feel anger, hate or irritation at the thought your rights are being ignored. Your bodily responses when you perceive yourself to be endangered or angered include a jump in your respiratory rate, an increase in your heart rate, an increase in blood pressure and a rush of adrenaline, cortisol and other stress-induced hormones. Happening infrequently, this is something you recover from. When you experience these reactions regularly though, you begin to endanger your long-term health, including elevated stress, heart health problems, hypertension and reduced immunity caused by stress. Use breathing tactics to self calm. Breathing deeply from your diaphragm is essential to calming and relaxing you. Breathing deeply helps to slow down the reactions mentioned in the previous step, including slowing your heart rate and blood pressure. You should notice a drop in sweating levels too. Training yourself to breathe deeply every time something bothersome occurs while out driving can help keep you calm. Breathe deeply when someone cuts in front of you or when they're driving too slowly in front of you. Breathe deeply when they make a sudden, unexpected turn. Every time something happens that has the potential to raise your ire, breathe deeply. Take your perfectionism to one side and drop it. It's your perception that you're the better driver, not theirs. No doubt they think it's you who is the lousy driver. The reality is probably somewhere in between for both of you. However, both of you are definitely prone to mistakes at one time or other, and some of these mistakes will manifest themselves on the road. Are you big enough to admit that their mistake, while unfortunate, is something you could easily have committed too? Think of the other person as human. As discussed in the section above, by humanizing the other person who has annoyed you, you stop seeing them as an impenetrable fortress of annoying-ness and start seeing that they're as vulnerable, tired, traffic-hassled and desirous of getting from A to B as you are. The people in the cars around you are mothers and fathers, siblings, sons and daughters, cousins, aunts and uncles, bosses and coworkers. They're filled with the hopes, fears and desires that you are too. Some of them are perhaps less focused than usual and have made an error of judgment but are you so perfect that you are entitled to judge them? Keep images on your dashboard to remind you of who or what really matters. A photo of your spouse, children, friends or a pet can keep you centered when you begin to feel angry about another driver on the road. Glance at this photo while breathing deeply, to help you register what matters and why it is important to keep calm. Just give the enraged driver the peace sign and smile. This usually diffuses the situation. If not, continue to follow the steps and try to find a way to leave if the situation escalates to a dangerous level.