I learned how to drive in Los Angeles, CA—a city known for its horrendous traffic and hostile drivers. For years, I drove aggressively, drove at least 20 miles over the speed limit, and hung out in the fast lane tailing people. I would routinely and profanely scream while shaking my fists in the air every time a person had the audacity to cut me off or to drive slowly in front of me. Every little thing other drivers did would be a direct challenge to me, and I didn’t back down.
After nearly two decades of maniacal driving, not to mention several speeding tickets, I realized I couldn’t go on raging each time I got behind the wheel. I was so sick of being angry and throwing my inane tantrums, I had to change. By adhering to some simple exercises, I have actually made driving an enjoyable experience.
It takes 21 days to break a bad habit and to form a new one. If you tire of your road rage, don’t despair. The foolishness can soon be over.
One of the most effective exercises you can do to curb your road rage is to drive the speed limit. I know it’s a novel idea, but give it a try. Make yourself enjoy driving 25 miles per hour down that residential street. Look forward to driving in the slow lane at whatever the set speed limit is—engage your cruise control if you have to. Really get to know and love the far right lane of the freeway. Let people pass you without reacting.
If this exercise proves to be harder than you anticipated, you can pretend you’re taking the DMV’s driving-skills test each time you drive. Imagination not that developed? Try utilizing an incentive—establish a desired reward such as an ice-cream cone or a $2 package of stickers. Pretty soon, you will be a model driver.
By the way, remember to allow yourself plenty of time to comfortably get from one point to another before you implement this practice.
I had a yoga instructor a few years back who loved to recite a mantra in class that, to this day, I am still convinced is the only one she knew: “Let it go; let it flow.”
Though it’s admittedly a bit corny, this sagely chant is applicable when you’re behind the wheel. Try it out. For example, if another driver cuts you off or is just being a jerk, use these following tips in succession: