Brookside Center for Counseling and Hypnotherapy


Dealing With Road Rage

by Maurice Kouguell, Ph.D., BCETS

I remember fondly the days (which seemed to end in the 1960s) when driving styles were regulated. The written driving test included the amount of car lengths between vehicles based on one's driving speed. Today, this formula has changed to inches and I consider myself lucky when the driver behind me does not attempt to get into my back seat. I find myself in constant conflict. Driving according to the speed limit irritates the driver behind me; driving above the speed limit can result in a penalty. Thank God for self-hypnosis and instant relaxation!

I am sure that I am not the only driver who has become increasingly aware of the new driving styles. I need to remember that many drivers today received their licenses 20 years ago. At that time, driving ethics were already changing.

Years ago, I used to watch junior high school students playing a game consisting of standing in front of a moving vehicle and stepping aside at the very last instant. To play this game today, the only requirement is to have a driver's license. Here is today's game: You drive in the right lane (readers from countries where drivers drive on the “wrong side” have to reverse) and are about to exit when a car, coming at an incredible speed, with lights blinking, cuts you on the right, only then to return to the left lane. The result: You miss your exit, the driver passes you, shows you his middle finger and mouths the words now familiar to you. I have been called an a--h--- so many  times that I no longer have to search for my identity. Driving has now become a gender issue as well as a platform for the survival of the fastest. The game of chicken is now foul play. Self preservation is necessary. Instant self-hypnosis and relaxation are in order here.

Maybe Zen can help?  I try to send the driver love, but find it hard. I settle by wishing them to get a flat tire in front of their destination. Seized by guilt, I then quickly turn this experience into a good one and say to myself quietly: "Isn't it nice to know that thanks to my presence on the highway, I have helped this person to express anger and hostility." I am grateful for deep breathing exercises. How tempting it is to go into a primal scream. But not yet. I become gradually more and more aware of my dislike and fear of my fellow drivers. I am almost tempted to sit in my car (I love my car) and just enjoy being parked in my driveway...but then what do you do about the Canadian Geese flying over the car and letting their passage be known? How lucky I am that cows do not fly! 

Is there really no turning back? What is causing this aggressive/destructive driving? Are we still fighting the last war? Do we resent foreign cars so much that we must destroy them or their drivers? I don't think so. I was hit as many times in my Chevy as in my Toyota. At one time I ended up hanging with my left front fender from the right front tire bolts of a huge truck because he wanted to get to the light first. I found it to be most humiliating. I was most grateful for hypnosis. I went into self-hypnosis and relaxation as the accident happened and became totally oblivious to the entire experience until I realized that the truck driver was coming at me cursing ME for causing his second accident in the last hour. He pushed me out of the car, sat behind my wheel and disengaged my small Toyota from his truck (thereby ripping off my fender and left headlight). I tried to send him love... but I couldn't.
Thanks to self hypnosis, Neurolinguistic Programming, Emotional Freedom Technique™ and self preservation,  I realize that I can overcome just about anything. Above all, I do not deserve to be cursed at and abused.
I like to think that we always have choices in life. I have a choice of driving or not driving. Of course, by keeping the car in front of my house, I stand a pretty good chance of not being hit, abused or cursed at. I also stand a pretty good chance of being surprised, when I return to my car, by perhaps not finding all four tires in place. Is my radio still there? What a wonderful day...what a wonderful day. Everything is still there. Then I say to myself: a car is just a possession and I choose on this beautiful sunny day to take a leisurely ride away from the big traffic. As I try to start my car, I realize that my battery has been stolen! My frustration turns to anger only to regain quickly a feeling of serenity and inner peace. Maybe I do not comprehend fully the meaning of sharing. “What is mine is yours.” Well, I like to believe that there is a special message in everything that happens to us, especially when it has to do with pain or hurt. For a brief moment, I have to decide if I should go into self-hypnosis or meditation. Maybe I should perfect an out of body technique? How good it is to have choices.


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