Road rage can be controlled

2017-03-22 06:02

ANGER and stress management consultant, Alan Symons consults daily with people suffering from road rage.

Fever interviewed him on how to keep road rage under control.

There is nothing more frustrating for parents at the beginning of a new year than having to put up with road rage, while everybody tries desperately to adapt to the new schedule.

Symons said according to the results of a Santam safety survey in 2014, 1000, seven to 12 year olds participated in the survey which indicated a massive inconsistency between what parents teach about road safety and how they behave.

A total of 77% of children believed it is wrong to break the rules, while 60% said they see adults break the road rules. A total of 100% knew how to buckle up, while 62% said they see adults drive without seat belts.

A total of 91% knew adults should not talk on the phone while driving, but 66% said they see adults talking on the phone while driving.

A total of 82% knew adults should not put make-up on while driving and 10% have seen adults doing so and 69% knew not to drink and drive, while 30% have seen adults drink and drive.

The message is clear, if we want future generations to abide by the rules of the road, parents should set good examples.

Symons painted a few scenarios that can lead up to road rage:

• The children are running late for school in the morning, their homework books need to be signed, you have an important meeting to attend at work. You all get into the car and the first set of four-way traffic lights at the busiest intersection are not working and drivers seem clueless as to who goes first. Your stress and frustration levels peak.

• You are off bright and early on a family outing. Everybody is happy. The weather is good, but lo and behold you hit a traffic jam and come to a standstill. While deciding which lane to get into, you ignore your partner’s advice and choose one. Suddenly a non-emergency car comes screaming down the emergency lane.

You make some verbal suggestions, complete with expletives of how you would modify that driver’s behaviour. Everyone in your “happy” car tenses up.

You also discover you should have taken your partner’s advice about which lane to take. You are angry with yourself and the others and all of you are in an unhappy state.

“I am sure Fever readers can identify with these scenarios and add some of your own. There are a few solutions one can try,” Symons said.

“Try to avoid travelling when angry, moody or under stress. Soothing music or deep breathing may help. Also factor in possible delays such as traffic jams, road blocks, road works, bad weather, etc., and find out beforehand if possible.

“If on leave, make every trip, no matter how long, part of the enjoyment of the holiday. Do not let a stranger evoke road rage. They may well ride off into the sunset, totally oblivious of your anger. They will not have raised blood pressure and adrenalin, but you will. Whoever angers you, owns you.

“Being angry with another driver is like drinking poison and hoping the other driver dies, whereas something inside you dies.” He said one should not allow passengers to provoke you into retaliating and not take things personally. “You will become the victim, not them,” he said.

Instead decide to be the better driver on the road by obeying the rules.

“Stop trying to be clever or revengeful and think that by you teaching them a lesson on road manners, you are going to change them for life. For example, you are being tailgated so you touch your brake pedal. It might make you feel good, but that’s it.” He added it is advisable not to make eye contact in the event of an incident.

“Once you have started a conversation, there is no telling where it might end. This also goes for traffic light ‘merchandisers’ and beggars.”

He said if you feel threatened, you should hold the steering wheel firmly and head for a police station or a petrol station with CCTV cameras. “As the holiday season approaches, do not stereotype the driver of a car by the registration plate,” Symons said.

To assist the community Symons is offering discounted packages on road rage for driving schools. He is also offering a free one-hour consultation session for people suffering from road rage until Easter.

Contact Alan on 083 754 2662 or email alan@angerstress.com or visit the website www.angerstress.com for further information.

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