Tailgaters, horn-honkers, and jerks who cut you off are enough to drive any driver batty. Here's how to keep your cool behind the wheel.
Step 1: Get sleep Get plenty of shut-eye. Lack of sleep can make you cranky and prone to feelings of annoyance and anger. Get the recommended eight hours before your morning commute.
Step 2: Give yourself time to get there Allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. If you're running late, it's easy to get stressed and lose your temper on the road. Allotting 10 extra minutes for your trip will allow you to handle unexpected delays calmly.
TIP: Try listening to relaxing music or audio books while driving. It can help insulate you from the chaos of the road.
Step 3: Take breaks on long trips Take regular breaks when driving long distances to stretch your legs and grab some food. Spending hour after hour in a stuffy car can leave you irritable and frustrated.
Step 4: Keep your cool If someone changes lanes without looking, tailgates you, or cuts you off, count to 10 and take a few deep breaths. Losing your temper won't make the other person a better driver, so take the high road and let it go.
TIP: Road rage can be dangerous, and sometimes deadly. Affix a small photo of your loved ones to your dashboard as a reminder of what's at stake.
Step 5: Don't engage An angry driver is looking for a fight, so simply refuse to join in. And don't ever pull off to side of the road to "settle" things.
TIP: Avoid eye contact. Staring at another driver can make an impersonal encounter between two cars personal.
Step 6: Consult a doctor If you feel like you're unable to control your rage while driving, consult a physician. Doctors have found that road rage may be a symptom of Intermittent Explosive Disorder, which may affect as many as 16 million Americans.
FACT: A study found that drivers with a lot of bumper stickers and decals on their cars are more likely to exhibit road rage.