5 Ways to Get Over Holiday Road Rage

The holidays are here and with them comes a lot of joy and a lot of stress. There’s a stress if you have to cook for your family, stress with having to prepare everything, and even more stress if you have to commute and get to your holiday parties on time. Unfortunately, all of that stress in the other areas of your life can easily come out when you’re behind the wheel. And if you’re the type that experiences a lot of road rage, here are five ways to get over it while driving during the holidays, as well as any other time of the year.

Remove yourself from the situation

If you find yourself angry at another driver, the first way to curtail your need to rage at another car is to distance yourself from it. We don’t mean that you need to drive to the other end of the city, but making a few turns to get to simply get off the same street that the other person is on could actually help you get over the matter. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the same room as the person that you’re angry at, or two car lengths away, removing yourself from a toxic situation can mean a world of difference.

Two drivers fight after a disagreement behind the wheel
Two motorists square up to fight after a disagreement | Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

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Safety is your main concern when driving

Focus on the safety of the other passengers in your car as well as your own. While another driver might cut you off, or if you’re simply mad because you’re stuck in traffic, do your best to keep in mind that what matters most is that you and your passengers get to your destination safely.

Focus on your breathing to calm down

At the risk of sounding like a yogi, another method to get over road rage is to simply calm down by focusing on your breath. We tend to breathe faster and harder under stress, so to maintain the stress you feel from road rage, focus on your breathing in order to keep those stress levels in check.

Lance Cpl. Orrin Farmer demonstrates road rage. Road rage is response to what drivers consider poor, inconsiderate or dangeous driving. Photo illustration by Cpl. Brianna Turner

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Show empathy

One of the most important ways to get over road rage is to show empathy for the other drivers around you. While they may do things that irritate you, understand that they could be driving erratically because they had the worst day ever or, at the very least, are experiencing the same type of stress that you are.

Understanding this simple principle after you’ve calmed down could help you better understand that the rage you feel is unnecessary since we’re all sharing the same road and trying to get our destinations safely as well.

Traffic Light
Traffic Light | Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Offer to drive

If you happen to be in a situation where the person that you’re about to get into the car with is known to exhibit road rage, then offer to drive. The main name of the game is to stay safe and get to our destinations alive and well.

But if it ends up that you remain a passenger, it is suggested that you should wait until you’re at your destination to let the driver you’re with know that he or she makes you uncomfortable with their road rage-fueled driving habits. Telling them while they are driving, especially in the heat of a moment, may not be a good idea.