A recent report by UK insurer AXA has revealed that around 800 lives are lost on Britain’s roads in a year due to road rage or disrespectful driving. Angry drivers are not only costing lives – they’re costing about £945 million in insurance premiums too.
According to motoring psychologist, Peter Marsh, aggressive behaviour behind the wheel can cause an accident in itself, but it can also impact negatively on the driving of others. The negative feeling created by angry, aggressive driving can cause other drivers to become irrational and make errors that they wouldn’t do normally.
So, in short, if motorists de-stressed at the wheel and were more considerate drivers, the number of road deaths would decrease as would the cost of car insurance premiums.
Here are a few simple steps to avoiding Road Rage
- It’s all in the planning
Yes, sounds obvious – but under-planning a trip can make it very stressful. If you don’t have a Sat Nav, make sure you have good directions and a map. Listen to the travel news and check the internet before you leave (BBC Travel News is a handy resource) to see if there are any road closures or jams on your journey. Being well informed can help you avoid boring delays and the panic of being late.
- Hydrate yourself happy
Don’t forget to take lots of water in the car with you (preferably in some kind of cool bag). Should you run into unexpected delays – you might be desperate for a drink. Keeping yourself hydrated will also help you to stay alert and awake.
- Do it for the kids
Bored, grumpy children are not the best driving companions. If they’re in a bad mood, you’ll probably be in a bad mood. Make sure children are comfortable and secure before setting off. It’s a good idea to pack some toys, craft things, games they can play with en route – although be aware that noisy toys could prove distracting for the driver. If you’re willing to splash a bit of cash, a portable or seat mounted DVD player could keep them enthralled with a film.
- Break and awake
Although it’s tempting to plod on to your destination without stopping – don’t travel too long without a break. Driving for hours on end can cause over-tiredness and lapses in concentration and alertness. According to the Department for Transport, driver tiredness accounts for around one fifth of accidents on major roads and is responsible for around 300 deaths per year in the UK. It’s recommended that you take a 15 minute break every 2 hours.
- Sensible snacking
Taking a break is essential on a long journey – so why not pack a picnic and make it part of your holiday. Although sugary snacks might appeal as a quick pick-me-up, it’s best to enjoy healthier options with slow-release energy – like bananas and cereal bars. High sugar foods can give you an instant high, but it won’t leave you with sustained energy. Avoid heavy, stodgy food that will make you feel sleepy at the wheel. Dried fruit is a good snacking option – or try freezing some fruit (grapes work well) to take with you. When you come to eat them they should be chilled and refreshing
- Peace of mind
There’s nothing more stressful than running into problems on the road and finding you’re not covered. Make sure you have adequate cover for your vehicle and all those who will be driving it. It might be worth considering optional extras like breakdown cover if you’re planning a long journey; after all, being stranded on a roadside isn’t much fun for anyone.
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