Health News Transport

Hot Weather and Road Rage: How To Keep Cool

Motorists are being advised to drive with more care in the hot weather as it’s revealed you’re more likely to suffer from road rage or to have a crash in summer.

As summer temperatures rise, so do people’s tempers. For decades, researchers have observed a correlation between hot weather and increases in violent, aggressive behavior.

As the summer months roll in, commuters have more to worry about than just the traffic. Warmer months give way to extreme temperatures, which means the long journey is likely to be a very hot and sticky one. Summer is a wonderful time to spend outdoors. It’s the time of cookouts, pool parties, and road trips. Unfortunately, it’s also the peak time for road rage. Uncontrollable frustration and irritability can cause drivers to act aggressively and drive dangerously. Therefore, when drivers get “hot under the collar,” you and your family are put at risk for a serious collision.

Things are only going to get hotter, as forecasters warn of the potential for record-breaking heat across Ireland again this week.  

So what’s the connection between commuting and the hot weather? Noel Gibbons, road safety officer with Mayo County Council says there is anecdotal evidence of a relationship between hot weather and anger on the road. In a previous survey results showed that almost 40% of Irish drivers admitted getting angry behind the wheel on a weekly basis.

Mr Gibbons said, “in the summer we tend to be in a little bit more of a rush to get home from work. In vehicles especially with no air conditioning, people tend to have their windows down, so you’re exposed to more noise.”

While warmer weather has been linked to greater aggression and frustration, the seasonal road rage spike is also connected with impatient attitudes borne out wanting to get the most out of the longest days of the year. Due to an increase in road works this time of year across many Counties, this leads to an increase in unexpected slowdowns and detours, which may contribute to a more frustrating commuting experience.”

“We do know from some research with drivers, including drivers that were involved in crashes, who were asked them about the various contributing factors, and they do mention when it is hot outside they tend to be more irritable, they tend to experience more road rage from other drivers as well.”

“Rather than using body language, people use what I call autobody language – tailgating, being aggressive, and that triggers the other driver to do it back, and that escalation of tension leads to these collisions.”

As for how drivers can keep themselves in check when they’re getting ticked off, the road safety office recommended taking deep breaths in the car, listening to the radio and staying as comfortable as possible during that commute. If someone is provoking you, don’t look back, don’t gesture, don’t press that horn for a very long time, share the road with cyclists and pedestrians”

“You don’t want to invite them to a bigger problem, and if you’re driving away, you’re never going to see that person again. At the end of the day, it’s maybe just a few harmful words for a few seconds of your day. So just relax and you could actually make your drive enjoyable.”

Although the summer can make commuting just as unpleasant as the winter, there are plenty of ways to keep your mind off the hot weather and avoid road rage during your daily drive. Below are five strategies to help you keep cool and calm when on the road this summer:

1. Listen to music at a moderate sound level. Music has specific therapeutic effects, while also making the drive more enjoyable.

2. Avoid your mobile phone. Even using a hands-free device is a form of distraction on the road, with serious risks. Instead of lighting up your screen to check them time, put your phone far out of reach and accept that you’ll be at your destination soon enough. Texting and driving is both illegal and extremely dangerous.

3. Invest in a windshield sunshade. This is a pre-commute strategy, but one that makes all the difference. If your car will be left in an area under direct sunlight, use a windshield sunshade to ease the heat when you begin your commute.

4. Stay hydrated. Water is crucial during hot summer months, and drinking up during your commute will ensure that you don’t get lightheaded or dizzy from dehydration. Ice water may also help you feel a little cooler overall.

5. In order to avoid a confrontation motorists should not over-react. They should put their pride in the back seat. Don’t challenge the other road user by speeding up or attempting to hold your own with them. Always allow extra time for your journey.

Source: Mayo County Council

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