We were all taught the golden rule of safe driving. No, not the one your mother told you about always wearing clean underwear, the other golden rule. Defensive driving saves lives! In our society of fast paced, goal oriented ways, that rule is definitely giving way to aggressive driving and in some cases, road rage.
What’s all the hurry? We have got used to instant gratification and getting somewhere in a car, takes time. We are no longer interested in the point A to point B part, but more in the destination. When you get behind the wheel of a car, patience and concentration are a must. This state of mind clashes with the way we will spend the rest of our day, and everyone is finding it hard to slow down while on the roads.
You won’t find a driver who hasn’t, at least, witnessed aggressive driving. And some have even been victim to road rage. Both are causing accidents and death on our roads. Indeed, eighty percent of Ontarians admit to some form of “road rage” behaviour. Not all of us will exit our vehicle, threaten bodily harm and act upon our rage, but often times, just the proverbial finger can set us on a dangerous course. In a village like Waterdown that has experienced tremendous growth over recent years, aggressive driving and road rage are increasing. Where once the population was aging, now Waterdown has seen an increase in young families. Much more people on the roads mean more chance of an accident. More drivers on the roads also mean more frustration as it takes longer to get through town. If you find yourself becoming agitated behind the wheel, there are things you can actively do to reduce your stress and increase your defensive driving.
- Cruise control will take the urge to speed out of your hands
- Give yourself more time to get where you’re going.
- Be well rested, hydrated and fed before you get behind the wheel.
- Take a long way around. (Might just be quicker.)
- Avoid rush hour
- Consider driving with company. (A co-pilot can keep your mood in check.)
Aggressive Driving Leads to Accidents
The increase in road rage and aggressive driving are equal symptoms of our sleep-deprived society. 20 years ago we are all getting, on average, eight hours of sleep. That has dropped to less than seven and it shows when we get behind the wheel. Factor in the large rise in the number of vehicles sharing the roads, and it’s no surprise tensions run deep.
People who have a tendency to engage in road rage and drive aggressively are also more likely to drive while impaired and distracted. No wonder, our roads can be so dangerous.
If you find yourself getting agitated, try to remember that anger and driving don’t mix. If you’re the angry one, take a deep breath, and count your blessings. If that doesn’t do the trick, just remember, it’s a small world, and that person you are directing your anger at could be someone who may have an impact on your quality of life, like your boss or mother-in-law.