While the world may be embracing—and even celebrating—the concept of Mental Wellness, the story is very different here in the Philippines. From the moment you step outside your door, the omnipresent Metro Manila traffic conspires to upset your peace of mind. And in some cases, even leading to all-out road rage.
Bridgestone Philippines, being an advocate of road safety, emphasizes that while it is imperative to ensure that your vehicle is using good and reliable tires, they also advocate safe driving by encouraging you to have the proper disposition and state of mind before getting behind the wheel.
That being said, we can help fight this by understanding the factors that upset our equilibrium on the road. Here are some of them:
Poor road design
There's a lot of uncertainty and stress that comes with simply driving where you need to. A road can go from four lanes to just two, becoming chaotic when everyone starts jostling for position, while lane restrictions can cause traffic to pile up at your exit. Even worse are the hidden or unclear signs or stoplights that create 'traps.' It's enough to give anyone road rage.
Hunger on the road is no joke. It triggers the release of cortisol and other hormones that cause irritability and aggression. Not that we advise driving on a full stomach—which can cause drowsiness—but carrying light snacks or drinks can help keep the hunger at bay. Snack breaks at gas stations or rest stops along the road also give the benefit of taking you away from the stress of traffic for a few minutes.
Your car's condition
Nothing causes more irritation than a beat-up car—a dirty and weak air conditioner, a cluttered cabin, dark or peeling tint obscuring visibility, and poor mechanical condition forcing you to wrestle with the car in hot traffic. Even noisy and old tires can put a frown on your face. These little things add up, potentially pushing you over the edge. Keeping your car clean and in good shape goes a long way.
The knowledge of how late you are can add to irritability on the road. Leaving a little bit earlier, even if you're still going to spend a few hours in traffic, can really help. If you know that you can still make it to work on time, the irritation at being delayed by other motorists is much less.
Every little thing we do on the road has an effect on others. Take merging without using turn signals, taking a little too long to move when traffic starts moving ahead, or tapping your brakes to start and stop in a jerky manner. These minor, irritating behaviors add to the stress of everyone around you, heightening the tension on the road. Be mindful of your driving. Keep it smooth, and stick to one lane.
The act of driving itself
If you have uncontrollable irritability or aggression, perhaps it’s time to see a doctor. Chronic irritability or explosive anger can be signs of underlying conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, or of actual mental health issues. Avoiding driving—by taking public transport or simply working from home or closer to it—can help ease the symptoms, but tackling the root cause is also important.
Being too assertive
It’s obvious that being a jerk causes road rage. But playing the white knight and actively fighting back can also be counterproductive. Blocking an aggressive driver or blaring your horn at them in irritation can increase their hostility, causing them to drive even worse. Aggression and counter-aggression can and will eventually lead to a fight. Know when it’s safe to assert your rights and when you need to back down.
Calm driving doesn’t just help prevent road rage, it also helps keep your car in good shape. Smooth, calm driving is gentle on the engine, the brakes, and the tires. It ensures you've got enough grip and traction in reserve for any emergency that might arise—which definitely boosts confidence and peace of mind on the road. Having reliable and trusted tires like Bridgestone helps contribute to that peace of mind, keeping you centered in even the worst traffic situations.
In its advocacy for road safety, Bridgestone is a committed partner in promoting mental wellness. Working hand in hand with motorists to promote responsible driving and a healthy driving environment. To know more about this campaign, follow Bridgestone on Facebook.