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Brighter Outlook with Kevin Simpson, chartered clinical psychologist and partner at Outlook South West

By West Briton  |  Posted: April 10, 2014

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WHY do so many of us become impatient and bad tempered when driving?

Well, we are cocooned in our vehicle and we tend to forget that other drivers are real people too.

So, when they drive slowly or badly, we judge, find them wanting, and mutter under our breath.

I remember once being late for work and driving faster than usual.

I found myself behind a slow driver and spent a few minutes getting stressed and driving too close behind them.

And then I realised it was a close neighbour. With some embarrassment I backed off and decided that I could live with being delayed by a few minutes. Suddenly seeing the other driver as a real person effectively dampened my impatience.

The moral of the story: always try to see the other driver as a human being.

Perhaps the biggest triggers for roadrage are when we believe other drivers are being unfair or disrespectful.

So, if we see a driver gesticulating at us, for little apparent reason, then our rage boils over.

The antidote to this is to make a choice.

An interesting American book called The Law Of The Garbage Truck, by David Pollay, illustrates this choice well.

This likens other drivers to garbage trucks. It goes: "They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.

"As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it.

"And if you let them, they'll dump it on you."

The message is not to take it personally, wave them on their way, (to let them dump it somewhere else), and move on.

So, allow your buttons to be pressed, or alternatively opt for a calmer life – you decide.

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