I am known for my calm and patient demeanor, but when someone cuts me off in a car, I can make Mt St. Helens’ eruptions, look tranquil and relaxed.
I have experienced and witnessed a lot of horrific road-rage incidents in my life. One thing I’ve noticed is that these encounters stay with me for weeks, or even months. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 30 percent of all drivers feel threated by aggressive road-rage type incidents at least once every month and 1,500 people die each year from incidents directly due to road-rage.
I started to wonder what the Buddha would do with road-rage? I think the fastest he ever got going in a vehicle was achieved by being pulled by an ox or elephant. Hence, not a lot of opportunities for him to give someone the finger.
But nonetheless, I gave some serious thought to what he would do, and I came up with a practice to help me navigate my rage in the midst of a fellow motorist’s aggressive driving.
I offer it to you now to print out and stick on your dashboard:
May the road we travel be as safe as possible for everyone!
You are my brother and sister. And you drive a vehicle of some sort.
You will cut me off, run a stop sign and tailgate me.
But you’re my brother and sister. I will give you the right-of-way. I will bow to you versus flipping you off.
I will call you babe, honey and sweetie; not to patronize you, but to remind me that you are human.
You might be having a bad day or late for an important appointment
Or rushing home to a sick loved one.
You are just like me. A human being who drives a car.
Just trying to get home.
Anna Benassi is a Marriage and Family Therapist intern with offices in Rockridge and SF for more info click here: www.annabenassi.com