Road Rage: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly Sides of this Driver Behaviour

We've all been in that situation: getting up early, on our way to work when some bozo with a ricer Civic appears out of nowhere, cutting you off on the freeway. Everybody needs to go places by car, so why can't we just get along in traffic, dear folks? Why the unnecessary road rage and hazardous maneuvers?
But the stressful traffic situations don't end up as soon as you reach your destination. Whether you're going to work or at your local Walmart, most of us (this author included) are desperately trying to find a place to park. I agree that the urban jungle is laden with too many vehicles and very few places to park, but c'mon, why is there at least one Sunday driver occupying multiple parking spaces any place I go, even though he drives a beaten 1995 Acura Integra?

When this author got his driver's license, he was one of those guys that flipped the bird or stomped the brake pedal in front of one of those idiots that make stupid, but dangerous maneuvers in traffic, to teach him a lesson. I was young and thought that having a driver's license is a gift from the Gods of burning rubber and F1, not a tool that entitles you to drive a passenger vehicle legally from point A to point B. As I got older and a bit wiser, I realized that driving has more practicality than boy racer-ness to it.

Therefore I steadily grown up as a driver over the years, acknowledging that the way most cars are designed these days and the way we live our daily lives render these four-wheel contraptions as 90 percent personal transportation tools and 10 percent toys for those people that like the smell of heated brakes after a full-on pedal-to-the-medal attack on a winding strip of mountainy road. So why do drivers aged upward of 30 years are systematically doing half-witted and dopey things when people like me and you are gingerly commuting to work?

I don't want to give bull to anyone who's reading this author's rant, so I won't go into scientific studies and dull figures about what makes us snap behind the steering wheel. Studies won't cure temperamental drivers from being a bunch of A-holes, like I was in my youth. Are you're wondering how I'm resisting the urge to badmouth the blondie that drives her Mini Cooper on the fast lane at 20 miles per hour below the freeway speed limit?

It's rather simple, to be frank: every time I travel in my boxy European hatchback, I take my favorite tunes on an USB stick or CD and enjoy my music at low to medium sound levels. Not only it relaxes the mind, but listening to music at moderate sound levels, from Led Zeppelin to Barbara Streisand or whatever you like, you won't be taken by surprise when a pensioner brakes aggressively in front of you because he/she is rather old and should be spending time with grandchildren, not behind the wheel.

A great deal of my Zen approach to driving in rush hour traffic comes as a result of playing my Boiler Room live DJ set or other records on the stereo. Apart from that, responsible driving is also the result of how you control your mood and mindset. You're late to work? Don't bother rushing 'cause you'll be late anyway and you're prone to be the cause of an accident. It's not worth risking your life and the safety of other drivers for cutting 5 minutes off your commuting time. Just relax, take it easy, think about that high school hottie you wished to kiss on prom night or something that puts you in a good state of mind. It works wonders especially when there's only gridlock chaos around you.

Why teach others a lesson by bullying? Why risk getting a speeding ticket even though it's Sunday afternoon and you're not in a hurry to get back home? It's very simple, dear motorists. Experiment with what makes you enter that peaceful mellow mood and apply that when you find yourselves in the driver's seat. I guarantee most of you can lessen your road rage and bursts of aggressive driving with practice. Just don't apply lipstick, read an e-book or send texts to your hot secretary when you're driving, you copy?
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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