The Angry Driver

We do it often. We’re driving along and some other driver does something we don’t like so we blame. It’s much easier. It seems as though it’s a reflex we don’t even need to think about. It usually feels good in the moment but it is poison to our body. Does this sound familiar: The car in front of me is going so slow. “What’s wrong with you? You shouldn’t have a license! Idiot!” I yell at the driver in front of me. A person I don’t even know. A situation I don’t fully understand. I make assumptions about this person. Assumptions that could be wrong and assumptions that fuel my anger. In this case, this kind of anger is not helpful. The anger fuels blame. Generally, there is nothing I can do that is both legal and healthy to solve this problem.
So, what do we do? Take a slow, deep breath and stop blaming the other person. If it’s a car that is driving slower than you would like, own that you want to be going faster. If you can’t safely and legally pass the car, then start letting this situation go. You might say things like, “I have no idea what’s going on with the other person but the fact is I must slow down to match his speed. I’m mad because I want to go faster and I can’t. Am I mad because I’m late? I better own that. I’m late. It’s my fault that I didn’t leave early enough to allow for slow traffic.” This will usually calm your heart rate and you will back off from the car in front of you. A slower heart rate is better for your general health and you will arrive at your destination relaxed instead of hyped up on adrenaline.
Whatever the situation, ask yourself if you have any control that is both legal and healthy (beating someone up, shooting someone, ramming into their car or getting super close, yelling profanities at people, blaming, shaming…fall into the category or either not legal and/or not healthy). If you have good options, take them, like waiting for a safe opportunity to pass the car (without staring down or flipping off the driver). Own your anger and let it go. These are often situations where we have little control. They simply aren’t worth losing points on our health meter.
If you are unable, on your own, to stop being so angry with other drivers, it could be helpful to work with a coach or therapist to address your anger.