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I Want To Stop This

by Lindsey
(Zanesville, OH)

I have been driving for only a few years and already have many stories to tell, but I will tell the one that gave me the closest call.

I was driving on the interstate back home from school one Friday night. There were two lanes going into one direction and there were two trucks that were straddling the lanes, going at an un-safe slow speed. I was in the far left lane, and was getting ready to pass when it eventually broke off into three lanes.

Once it did, I got over into the new far left lane to get around and planned to get right back over once I got around the slow trucks. This van with two young kids came zooming up behind me out of nowhere, flashing their lights at me. I tried to get over right away before they got too close but another vehicle was in the way. They came up behind and were ramming into the back end of my car, luckily I did not lose control of my car.

I forced myself into the other lane and cut off the other car that was in the way so that I could get out of their path as soon as possible. Once I did, I became very angry. The two kids gave me a "look" when they went by, and I gave them the finger and flashed my lights at them, and then they took the very next exit before I could get their license plate and report them like I would have done.

I cannot explain the anger and the terrible thoughts of what I wanted to do to get back at them, which is something that I experience often while driving. I'm not a perfect driver by any means. But when I see drivers like this on the road who do these reckless things to people, it absolutely infuriates me watching them, because I'm on the road and people who I care about are on the road.

I get myself so stressed out driving to the point where I dread traveling. I just want to make myself calm down and not react anymore with horrible thoughts and reactions, and I will try my best to start working on them as soon as possible. Thanks for reading.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Lindsey, and thanks for telling your story here. It is very clear that you want to resolve your anger issues around driving and other drivers. From the incident you described, you had every reason to be angry under those circumstances. The question is, of course, what you do with that anger, and how it is affecting you. I will help you with some ideas about how to manage and process your anger more successfully.

I think you’ll find the exercises on this FAQ page to be very helpful. This will give you an understanding of your anger, and it will also provide you with some tools that will help you to heal and manage your anger more effectively.

You can also use this two part imagery process to mentally rehearse before driving. It will basically help you to plan mentally to have a positive experience driving. And be sure to focus on all of the drivers that are being courteous and friendly. They’re out there, and they are in the majority--it’s just the bad drivers that grab your attention.

Before every trip, say (out loud or to yourself), “I will have a smooth, safe and enjoyable journey, surrounded by courteous and helpful drivers.” This doesn’t guarantee anything, but it will help you to be calm and optimistic as you travel.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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