Last week’s incident between former Philippine Army reservist Vhon Tanto and his victim, cyclist Mark Geralde, has once again placed road rage in the spotlight. It’s as if people have forgotten similar cases in the past that have likewise captured the public’s interest. (Hello, Rolito Go!)
Admittedly, most—if not all—incidents of road rage occur because of the most trivial things, from an argument over a parking space to being cut off in traffic. Even if it’s a fender-bender that’ll cost around P10,000 to repair, is that worth taking someone’s life for? And for what, to prove a point and to finish the argument, if there was even one to start with?
With this in mind, we’d like to give motorists out there a refresher on how to keep their cool on the road to avoid either becoming the next viral sensation/criminal or be featured infamously on TopGear.com.ph—or both.
1) Plan ahead
The flow of traffic is always unpredictable; it may be smooth today but tomorrow, you might be better off walking to reach the same destination. So make some allowance for delays on your trip. Hey, if your trip miraculously is on schedule, that means you’re early and you’ve got some extra time to spend.
2) Use your horn sparingly
You might be using it to catch the attention of an ambulant vendor to satisfy your craving for a pack of Juicy Swits but the driver ahead of you might think you’re egging him on, and if he isn’t in a good mood, you might have just lit the fuse of the proverbial bomb. So use your horn only when you really need to.
3) Listen to music that’s pleasant to the ears
We’re fans of rock and heavy metal music but let’s face it, listening to songs that urge you to do things like “seek and destroy” or to “disobey the police” isn’t conducive for a relaxing commute to work. A playlist of jazz and light rock music should do, or you can tune in to a radio talk show instead. Science has also identified the "most relaxing song in the world," check it out here.
4) Record yourself while driving
You might be a prime candidate for road rage and not even know it. Record yourself while driving, either through video or even just on audio. Seeing and/or hearing how you act while driving might be a wake-up call for you if you’re unknowingly showing signs of reckless or even dangerous behavior on the road.
5) Your car is not a weapon
You might have had a bad day at work or it might seem life has not been fair to you but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should use your car to blow off steam. Go to a gym and sign up for a boxing class if you’re stressed out. Don’t forget that your car is, first and foremost, a mode of transport and not a weapon.
6) Err on the side of caution
If you or your vehicle becomes the target of a motorist’s wrath, be contrite and defuse the situation by not provoking him or her. Avoid making eye contact as well as this may be seen as a challenging gesture or an act of defiance. There’s no use trying to prove your point if it’s going to cost you your life. Be the better man—or woman—for that matter.
7) If confronted, do it in a public place
Or better yet, proceed to a police station or outpost. Anyone who wants to harm you physically will be less inclined to do so if you do it in an area where there are lots of witnesses or where law enforcement officials are present.
8) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
There’s a reason why it’s called “The Golden Rule,” and that’s because you’d preferably want others to treat you as you treat them. So don’t unnecessarily cut into someone’s lane, or at least signal your intention to do so beforehand. Chances are, if you do cut into someone’s lane, that person will be intent on doing the same to you later on, so be mindful of what you do on the road.