Keeping safe on the roads
While traffic is about interplay with other road users, you can have an essential impact on road safety through your own actions. This section offers a range of tips for different situations.
- In various situations, we tend to interpret the other party’s actions as deliberate. However, the underlying factor may be their lack of driving experience (a newly obtained driving licence, a long break in driving, an unfamiliar city) or pure thoughtlessness.
- Accept that you cannot know the background to someone else’s situation. What if the driver was taking his wife to the maternity hospital, or there was an emergency at home?
- Try to put yourself in another person’s shoes and remember that you have made mistakes in traffic yourself.
- Remember that even if you think another driver is behaving annoyingly, they may not be aware of it themselves – and they are not necessarily doing what they do specifically to annoy you.
- Consider that the driver’s ability to think of others or observe the surroundings may be reduced for health reasons. You should not take their actions personally.
Understand and control yourself
- Identify situations where you get angry without a good reason. Your emotions may stem from factors other than the traffic. Is your anger caused by other reasons, were you already annoyed before you got into your car? If you are tired or stressed out, you tend to aggravate situations and make hasty conclusions.
- If you notice you have made a mistake, express your regret and thank others for keeping out of your way.
- If you notice yourself getting angry, remember that everything is relative. In final analysis, how much difference will it make if you are five minutes late from your meeting today?
- Remember that when you are taken over by strong emotions, your powers of observation are reduced, your senses work less effectively, and your ability to observe traffic situations is undermined. In this situation, you can easily put yourself and others at risk on the road.
- If you really are about to blow your fuse, count to ten before you do anything rash. Take a few deep breaths and try to relax.
- Remember that you are driving. You cannot react to situations as spontaneously as you might at other times.
- If you notice that you have been gripped by road rage, behave responsibly, stop at the side of the road and calm down.
- If this happens to you often, think about if you see other people as a disruption and a threat in life in general. Traffic is not an island separated from the rest of life – look after yourself.
- Remember that you can set an example for other road users and your passengers. For example, consider what you would like your children to learn from the way you drive.
- When you decide to remain a courteous driver, your own emotions do not surface so easily. Also pay attention to traffic situations when everything is going smoothly. Courtesy makes everyone’s journey more pleasant.