Want to control your anger while driving? Try these 7 tips to stop road rage

Man feeling road rage while driving in a carThis week it was reported in the news that the Australian police said they believed a road rage incident and the stabbing of two men in Sydney’s south-west are related. Road rage incidents like this are common around the world, and are increasing as the number of cars on the road increases each year. To make matters worse, more cars means more bad drivers. The insurance company AAMI said Australian drivers are becoming more selfish, aggressive and dangerous.

Road rage can range from mild – such as pulling a finger sign – to serious – stabbings, beatings, and death. Controlling our temper while driving is vital for safe and happy travelling. Here are seven ideas to prevent road rage.

1. Don’t personalize other people’s bad driving
2. Be a compassionate and empathetic driver
3. Visualize feeling at peace while driving, and say positive affirmations
4. Don’t expect other drivers to always be courteous
5. Think of the consequences of road rage
6. Remember the benefits of keeping calm while driving
7. Be a safe and courteous driver

1. Don’t personalize other people’s bad driving

Often when other people drive badly, it’s not our fault. They might be stressed, angry, distressed, upset… before they got in their car to drive. To feel calmer after we experience their poor driving, we can take-on the attitude of “Their bad driving is their problem, not mine. I didn’t cause it. I’m not going to heighten the problem by feeling road rage. I choose my emotions and I choose to remain calm.”

2. Be a compassionate and empathetic driver

Ask ourselves why the driver is distracted, not concentrating, or driving erratically. Are they going to a funeral? Leaving the hospital after a loved one has died? Perhaps attending to an emergency?

There are countless reasons why people might be driving badly. If we shift our viewpoint from:
“They are driving badly because they are idiots, and idiots make me angry!” to
“I don’t know why they are driving badly. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and stay calm because I don’t know what situation they are in. They might not be idiots – they might be distressed, devastated, grieving…I might also drive like them if I was in their shoes.”

By changing our negative viewpoint to one of compassion and empathy we can lesser feelings of anger, so calm a potentially hostile situation.

3. Visualize feeling at peace while driving, and say positive affirmations

Imagine (visualize) feeling at peace and staying calm while we’re driving. Say positive affirmations to help us stay calm while we drive. Do these throughout the day both while we are driving and not driving.

Affirmations can include:

  • I am getting calmer while driving.
  • I can stay peaceful when I encounter bad drivers.
  • I can choose my emotions and I choose to feel calm when I am around bad drivers.

4. Don’t expect other drivers to always be courteous

If we drive with the expectation that other drivers always have to let us us into their lane when we want to change lanes, always need to drive carefully and so on, we are likely to be let down when they don’t meet our expectations. Not having our expectations met can lead to road rage. Accept that there will be some drivers who are rude, pushy, distracted and so on. We are more likely to be calmer while driving if we have realistic beliefs about how other people drive.

5. Think of the consequences of road rage

Road rage can feel good for a while as we vent our frustration, but the benefits can be vastly outweighed by the possible consequences, such as:

  • feeling tense, stressed and angry
  • an increase in heart rate
  • a rise in blood pressure
  • having an argument or fight
  • having an accident, and injuring or killing ourselves and others
  • damaging or destroying our car and others’ cars or property
  • getting a criminal record
  • going to jail
  • all the paperwork that comes with having an accident
  • an increase in car insurance costs

When we start to feel road rage coming on, remember the possible consequences, take some deep breaths, and make a conscious effort to stay in control.

6. Remember the benefits of keeping calm while driving

There are many benefits of staying calm while driving. A few of these are that:

  • we feel happier, less stressed, more peaceful…so have a more pleasant drive
  • the people in the car with us feel happier…
  • we lessen our risk of having a car accident, so injuring or killing ourselves and others, destroying our car or other people’s property…
  • we avoid a criminal record and going to jail
  • we avoid all the possible spin-offs from one or more of the above, for example extra tension in our relationships

7. Be a safe and courteous driver

How we drive affects how other drivers’ react. Drive safely and there’s less chance of getting into a fight or argument with another driver. Let people into our lane if they need to change into it – don’t speed-up and not let them in. Use our indicators when we change lanes, and change lanes smoothly, not erratically. Don’t tailgate. Stick to the speed limit.

Don’t drive when we’re over-tired. Studies have found that driving while tired is as dangerous as drink driving.

written by Nyomi Graef

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11 Responses to “Want to control your anger while driving? Try these 7 tips to stop road rage”

  1. Here is the fastest way to cure anger problems.

  2. Crystal says:

    These are very good tips. Thank you! 🙂

  3. Nyomi says:

    Thanks Crystal. I’m glad you like the article.

    Best wishes,


  4. Brenda says:

    These are really good, I’m going to start practicing these 7 techniques today… I need to be less angry when behind the wheel. Thank you for the article. Sincerely….

  5. Chris says:

    I’m going to start using these tips & will check-in in a years time. I’ve no doubt they’re going to be effective. Thank you. 🙂

  6. Nyomi says:

    Thank you Brenda and Chris. I appreciate your kind words and comments.

    Kind regards,


  7. Jeff says:

    Thank you Nyomi for this very helpful article. I have been having a really rough time lately with my emotions when I drive. I will put these things into practice tonight on my way home. I really needed to hear these things.

    I can’t thank you enough.

    Warmest Regards,


  8. Nyomi says:

    Thanks very much Jeff. I’m glad you like my article.

    Best wishes,


  9. Johnny says:

    8. Learn the road rules and keep up to date..sometimes when we are most enraged we are actually unclear of a rule and this personal confusion makes us susceptible to triggering

    9. Don’t drive while fatigued…you are more susceptible to getting triggered.
    10. Consider not driving when you have other interpersonal conflicts in your life such as fight with girlfriend etc if U do don’t take it out on others or do risky driving
    11. Make sure your blood sugar is not low as U can get irritable..eat healthy food to make sure your mood is not affected and you are stable food and nutrition wise.
    12. Fatigue can build up over days so just because u had a good night sleep last night does not mean U are good to drive if you have been burning candle both ends.
    13. If you do feel yourself in a shitty mood..take a break ..go for a walk stretch your legs ..let it subside …

  10. Nyomi says:

    Great ideas Johnny. Thanks for sharing them.

    Kind regards,


  11. Joanne says:

    Thanks very much, Nyomi. I like all your points a lot, especially the one about lowering expectations of others. I tend to feel very frustrated when others are pushy or impatient drivers, and also when people do not abide by the rules. If I don’t expect everyone to be as good as I expect, I will hopefully have a calmer reaction. I will print this page and leave it in my car to read through occasionally.

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