A Guide to Keep Your Inner Traffic Monster at Bay

You’re in traffic when the car ahead cuts you off. You call the person names as you flip them off, and you get a similar response. Game on!!! You’re furious that “they” had the gall, the audacity, to cut you off and now “they” will pay for what “they” have done!!! Who cares about the minivan next to you filled with kids on their way home from school? Who cares about the elderly lady one car up and to your right? She shouldn’t be driving if she gets that nervous. All you want is to get even with that outrageous driver and teach them a lesson. It becomes a game of cat and mouse, and you’re not going to play the role of mouse, that’s for damn sure! You are now consumed with rage and this is one game you will not lose!!!
This was me about 20 years ago. As a result, I took myself off the road for about 2 years. I had to since that kind of pure, blind anger put my kids and other innocent people in a situation that could have ended in tragedy. I was behaving like a menace and feeling as though my rights must mean more than the person’s next to me in traffic. And what message were my kids receiving from my bad behavior? That it’s okay to be aggressive, inconsiderate and vengeful, oh and by the way, “love thy neighbor”.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
1) Breathe
Inhale through your nose to the count of 4, letting your belly balloon out. Hold for 4 at the top. Exhale through your nose to the count of 4, emptying your belly out completely. Hold out at the bottom for 4. Do about 5 rounds of this and you’ll notice a sense of peace wash over you. This also helps when you feel anxious, getting in or out of traffic.
2) Forgive
Everybody has bad days. It happens to the best of us. That’s no excuse to take it out on a stranger in traffic. You can choose how you react to someone cutting you off. The offender made their own choice. Why give more power to their anger? Just forgive them and slow down. Offer them plenty of room to do what they need to do.
3)The tickle trick
Tickle the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue. You’ll notice your jaw unclench and your fingers relax, while you release the death grip you have on the wheel. Take a deep inhale and exhale through your nose, move your jaw around a little, and be on your merry way.
4) Drive offensively
If you find someone riding your tail and flashing their brights, put on your signal and get into another lane. If the other driver is in rage mode and starts to follow you, drive to your nearest police station, as calmly as possible. Avoid any eye contact. If that’s not possible, pull into a safe area and call 911 and be as descriptive as possible. Do not approach the other driver. If they start to approach you, calmly drive away from them. Then let the police know what is going on.
5) Be prepared
Before you get on the road, be prepared. Choose your favorite music station. Make sure you have everything you need, such as sunglasses, phone, medicine, etc. Program your GPS before you pull out of your driveway. When you’re on the road, remember to signal when turning or changing lanes. Be courteous if someone needs to change lanes in front of you. Stay alert. Your ringing phone can wait, as a distracted driver is an accident waiting to happen. Take your time, leave early, and only use your horn to alert someone merging into your lane who may not have seen you.
6) Emergency vehicles
And always remember to pull to the RIGHT for sirens and lights. It’s the law. This law is called Scott’s Law (The Move Over Law) for Lieutenant Scott Gillian who was killed in the line of duty on the Bishop Ford Freeway.
Here’s the link


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