With the way most Filipinos drive, it’s a real challenge to keep one’s temper on the road. Tailgating, cutting lanes, counter-flowing, turning without signaling, grave misuse of car horns, and other stomach-turning driving habits can get on your nerves anytime. One could say then that we’re all instigators of road rage in some way.
While we all realize the hassles that a road accident brings—and that’s not counting the amount of time, effort, and money you put in filing for a police report and car insurance claims, attending court hearings, and chasing after the other party—it’s sometimes just hard to stay calm in the face of an irresponsible driver.
In order to stop road rage from taking over your senses, here are some tips and questions to help you do a quick self-check and get you right back on track.
1. He’s a bad driver. But should I take it personally?
Erring drivers can instantly make you feel superior; the irony is they in fact bring out the worst in you. You honk your horn, call them out, or flip the bird. But chances are, it’s not about you. At least not until you take action and provoke the other party—now that’s how actual scuffles begin.
2. Could a physical or medical condition be restricting the other motorist from driving “normally”?
For all you know, it could be a septuagenarian behind the wheel. And believe us, it would take you several days to forgive yourself for hurling an expletive at a senior member of society who’s only trying their best to get from point A to point B. Slow driver? That could be grandpa. Weaving in and out of traffic? That could be a pregnant woman rushing to the delivery room. Ease up on everyone—it’s the safest thing to do.
3. Am I outraged because I had a bad day?
Physical and emotional stress from a long and tiring day are primary contributors to aggressive driving. If road cracks and oblivious pedestrians could easily irk you, imagine what bumper-to-bumper Edsa traffic and a long queue at the parking lot could do. Turn this negative energy around by putting your favorite playlist on the radio. Research suggests that letting out a loud scream (all to yourself) can cut your stress by up to 25 percent too.
See related topic: (Travelers Beware: 10 Common Scams Abroad and How to Avoid Them)
4. Am I under the influence?
If you’re asking yourself this question while driving, then by all means stop the car and park somewhere safe. Alcohol and drugs impair the driver physically, mentally, and emotionally. You’re not only a hazard to other motorists; you’re a hazard to yourself as well. Just think of the Php20,000 minimum fine you could be given for driving under the influence (DUI). It’s not the police officer or the other motorist—it’s really you.
5. How many hours of sleep did I have?
Driving with a sleepy head can make you irritated for no reason at all. Lack of sleep has also been proven to get you more easily annoyed, and therefore suffer from road rage. Just like DUI, this condition instantly makes you a hazard on the road. Pull up and grab some coffee or tea, or even better, get some power nap on the roadside. The most effective cure for sleepiness, after all, is sleep.
6. What would my loved ones say?
Think of the last thing your kid, wife, or parents said before you left the house—or the nicest thing they said, ever. Think of all the fun weekends spent with the family. Or all the beach trips you’ve had with friends. Yes, life is good. Would you let a nasty road scuffle decide what will happen to the rest of your life?
See related topic: (Lessons We Can Learn From The Freak EDSA Accident Last Thursday)
7. Will getting mad at the other driver help me become a better person?
Anger causes stress, and stress leads to health hazards in the long run. Experts say people who get mad easily are almost thrice more prone to heart attack than those who keep their tempers low. So not only does road rage endanger your life while you are on the road, you are exposing yourself to a lifelong illness that can’t be altered.
8. Will honking and cussing help improve the traffic situation?
The short answer: no. It won’t alleviate the horrendous traffic flow. Sad as it may seem, playing the “righteous citizen” card is more likely to get you in trouble than it can rectify erring drivers. If you think the problem seriously needs to be addressed, vent your frustration on social media. There you have at least a hundred people willing to listen to what you have to say.
9. I’m late for work. But can I afford to take the half-day off or go on leave if I get into an accident?
Let’s face it: The reason you’re in a hurry is because you didn’t leave home early—or at least not early enough to make it in time for your appointment. You’re driving aggressively because you slept or ate a little longer than usual earlier in the day. Whatever the reason, it’s better to wait around a few seconds for your turn at the bottleneck lane. Practice utmost patience; you’ll get there soon. A simple sideswipe can take up at least half your day. Are you willing to take that risk?