Using Mindfulness to Overcome Road Rage

In this post I discuss how we can use mindfulness to better deal with annoying things in life, like slow drivers.

Photo by Vova Krasilnikov from Pexels

“The gas is on the right grandma!”

“If you can’t drive, get off the road!”

We’ve all been there right?  We all get irritated by slow drivers…or the person who pulls out in front of you which forces you to slam on your breaks…or that special model of car that apparently wasn’t built with a blinker…🙄

Unfortunately, we can’t avoid the slow or less-than-perfect drivers that we encounter in our daily lives. However, instead of letting our frustration take control in those situations we can use mindfulness practices to help overcome that road rage.

The Importance of Being Mindful while Driving

There have been several occasions when I was irritated at being stuck behind a slow driver.  Though I felt my Road Rage Meter soaring, I couldn’t pass them safely, so I waited.  Inevitably, we soon came around a curve and there was a deer standing in the middle of the road.  Our slower speed allowed both myself, and the driver in front of me, plenty of time and space to stop.  But if I had raced around that corner…

On other occasions we came over a hill and there was a cop waiting on the other side.  Because I was stuck behind the slow driver I knew I had nothing to fear, but if I had been happily zooming along at the speed I wanted to drive…my wallet would have been the one feeling the rage.

My point is, maybe that slow person has been placed in front of us for a reason. Call it a Guardian Angel, Fate, or the Universe stepping in, but maybe that obstacle in our path is actually there to help us.

Mindfulness Helps us Embrace the Current Moment and Decrease Road Rage

I try to see slow drivers as God (or the Universe, or Fate) telling us to slow down a little.  I believe these situations present themselves to us as opportunities, chances to be more Present in the current situation that we find ourselves.  I mentioned in a previous post how much I enjoy long drives on winding roads.  When we find ourselves stuck behind a slow driver we can be mindful and appreciate the sunny day, or the scenic countryside, that we’re currently driving through.  Or maybe this is our chance to connect more meaningfully with the person sitting next to us.  Maybe it’s not a beautiful day at all, but rather the rain is drumming peacefully on the windshield; something I find to be incredibly relaxing.

I see (and hear) some people, in their cars, who appear to be very angry.  They lash out at anyone who pulls out in front of them, or who doesn’t drive quickly enough.  You can see them gesticulating wildly, or hear them yelling at another driver. (I’ve even see people standing outside a stranger’s car, at a red light, screaming at them through the window.)  This type of behavior is frightening, but I also think it’s indicative of a larger problem in our society today.  Many of us are overstressed and are strained to our limits.  Some of us are hurting in one or more areas of our lives.

If we can show a little patience towards each other, to be understanding if someone pulls out in front of us (or wave an apology to them if we are at fault), if we can show just a little extra kindness towards each other, maybe it will make another person’s day.  Maybe it will pull them out of the dark place they are in, just a little bit.  Maybe it will give them a little hope that there is still some kindness in a world that can be difficult to navigate at times.

To Conclude

I get just as irritated with slow traffic (or the large family milling about, blocking my path at Walmart 😉) as the next person.  But we never know when these obstacles are put in our lives for our benefit.  So the next time you find yourself stuck behind a slow–or bad–driver, instead of getting angry and yelling at them (or using gestures that you wouldn’t want your mother to see 😮), look at it as an opportunity…to spend a little more time enjoying the beauty of the world around you.  Besides, if we can put a little positive energy and light out into the world, I believe it will come back to us.  Also, it’s a simple way to help make this big, blue ball we all live on a little better place, for everyone.

Do you have any suggestions for how to be more mindful while driving?  Let me know if the comments!

 

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Do you find your blood pressure rising when you get stuck behind a slow driver? Use mindfulness to help reduce your frustration!

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