Author Topic: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage  (Read 10213 times)

engineerjourney

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Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« on: February 21, 2014, 03:29:45 PM »
Soo, I really hate driving.  Unfortunately I hate the cold even more so for the winter season I have made the choice to drive, not bike (besides that there is no shoulder with this stupid snow).

Anyways, I get 'road rage' because I want to get from point A to point B in the quickest time possible so I can stop driving and be there.  This 'road rage' consists of me yelling obscenities at the other drivers, sometimes honking (when they almost hit me), or flashing my lights (also usually when they almost hit me).  I yell at people for going slow, for not accelerating fast enough, for braking for no reason, etc... Thankfully none of them ever hear me.  I have flipped off about 3 people over the years and I don't think they noticed at all.  I have to be careful when driving with other people not to do it and when I am a passenger I struggle not to be frustrated with their less than aggressive driving.  I have to be a defensive driver around here (I swear there is no drivers test in this area or something) but I doubt my level of frustration/anger is healthy so please share any tips/advice on how I can try to deal with it better or change my thinking.  I plan on biking as soon as the weather is tolerable but need some help for now. 

Also, I drive super aggressively: brake hard, accelerate quickly, pretty much go 10 over the speed light, etc.. I do this because I want to get there quicker but its negatively affecting my mpg.  I can get good mileage on the highway on cruise control but kill it with the aggressive driving elsewhere.  I know what needs to be done to fix it (not accelerate quickly, etc) but would appreciate any tips on getting over the mental hurdle of not being so aggressive or being that person that I would curse at above!! 

I think I need to fix both of these things to be happier while being stuck driving.  My DH and I carpool but I have the better mpg car and he also hates driving.. boooo.  Maybe one day we will be without cars but for now I need to fix this.  (I think its partially that I lived in Chicago for over 5 years without a car so I lost any good habits I used to have.) 

Okay, a super long post.  Thanks to anyone who makes it through!

Eric

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2014, 03:58:40 PM »
How about this:  Your aggressive acceleration, anger, and impatience doesn't actually get you there any faster.  All you're doing is wasting money.  If I accelerate slowly, and someone beside me does quickly, we're both going to get stuck at the next stop light, or the one after that, or the one after that.

Try an experiment.  Time your trips while driving like a jackass.  Also note your gas mileage.  Next, time your trips and note your gas mileage while driving like Senior Citizen EJ.  I'll bet that you'll gain 25% on your gas mileage while simultaneously barely having any noticeable time difference.

Make it a game.  Hypermile.  Try to beat your records.  Laugh at those who drive the way you used to for wasting their money, and risking tickets and lives, for essentially zero benefit.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/07/26/hypermiling-expert-driving-to-save-25-50-on-gas/

jba302

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2014, 04:01:16 PM »
1. Realize you are an asshole.
2. Start using Wheaton's Law.

PindyStache

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2014, 04:02:19 PM »
Bike.

Seriously, what a complainypants post! You clearly know you need to change, just do it. Why do you need people on the internet to tell you this? It's not a difficult thing to do.

Obviously biking will reduce actual driving and is a mode of transport where your own legs and abilities are the limit of your speed most of the time. Moreover, it will make you a calmer driver as the rare times you do drive it will inherently seem like you're accelerating quickly and driving fast. Plus you will learn humility and respect for others on the road, which you seem to lack at the moment.

Overall, your post is a clear argument for why car driving (and commuting especially) is a soul-sucking menace to our social fabric and common decency.

engineerjourney

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2014, 04:07:18 PM »
Eric, thank you, that is a great idea to actually figure out the difference between the two behaviors.  I will try treating it like a competition to beat myself in the right way, I can be very competitive which seems to be used negatively currently. 

1. Realize you are an asshole.
2. Start using Wheaton's Law.
Uhh yeah, thanks?  Though at least I now know what Wheaton's Law is. 

And thanks to PindyStache also... uhh, I obviously highlighted that I was making this CHOICE to drive.  I was looking for ideas to help me mentally change my attitude towards my behaviors, not for people to agree that I need to change..   

engineerjourney

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2014, 04:29:55 PM »
Bike.

Seriously, what a complainypants post! You clearly know you need to change, just do it. Why do you need people on the internet to tell you this? It's not a difficult thing to do.

Obviously biking will reduce actual driving and is a mode of transport where your own legs and abilities are the limit of your speed most of the time. Moreover, it will make you a calmer driver as the rare times you do drive it will inherently seem like you're accelerating quickly and driving fast. Plus you will learn humility and respect for others on the road, which you seem to lack at the moment.

Overall, your post is a clear argument for why car driving (and commuting especially) is a soul-sucking menace to our social fabric and common decency.

Sorry, my first reply to your post reads pretty defensive.  I agree that biking would be much better.  For several reasons I will not be doing that until weather conditions improve (I am by no means a badass) so in the mean time I am looking for ideas to change my thinking while driving.  I definitely know I need to change, I just haven't been able to do so yet, looking for an extra push, more minds are better than one!

happy

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2014, 04:55:49 PM »
Do you like music? Try playing something you like thats chilled out and calming when you're driving.

Clean your car and try to make it an environment you will enjoy.

Before you start driving, try some visualisation… spend a minute or so visualising yourself driving calmly/hypermiling with a smile on your face surrounded by all the other crazies on the road.

Get ready and leave with plenty of time - don't start driving when you've been rushing, and don't feel you have to rush to arrive on time.

PS +1 to Wheatons Law

jba302

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2014, 04:56:45 PM »
Ok then, I'll elaborate by posing questions, and hopefully this does sink it in -

Say you are walking down a hall to a meeting and get caught behind a nice old person with a cane. You can't get around them and you are possibly going to be late. Would you start yelling at them? Flipping them off? Would you push them out of the way? Do you walk IMMEDIATELY behind a person if their stride is not quick enough for you? Do you tell people how to walk?

No, you probably don't do any of those, because it would be unbelievably rude and you'd probably get your face punched in. Instead, you are doing EXACTLY THIS BEHAVIOR driving 70 miles per hour in a 3,000 pound vehicle. Do you remotely comprehend how dangerous this is?

So if it's not because you are an asshole, why don't you explain why you do it? Are you invincible? Are your actions without repercussion? Do you think you don't deserve to have someone cut you off and make you face your behavior?

engineerjourney

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2014, 05:40:04 PM »
Good ideas Happy! Thank you!

So if it's not because you are an asshole, why don't you explain why you do it? Are you invincible? Are your actions without repercussion? Do you think you don't deserve to have someone cut you off and make you face your behavior?

Interesting questions and scenario, you are right in that I would never do these things in person to someone.  In fact, I rarely ever even use curse words except for when I am in the car.. the only people I have ever raised my voice to in anger are my mom and my brother when I was being that typical teen girl... really strange that a flip is turned on once I am in the car.  Oh I do believe I am being an asshole in my car.  I will have to figure out why I do that in my car but not in other situations.  I have the feeling it has to do with there being no repercussions so far.  I speed but I don't tailgate, so I have never been in accident (knock on wood), I yell but they don't hear me so no one's feelings are hurt, etc..   The only person I am hurting is myself, by stressing myself out and costing me more $$.  Thank you for expanding on your first post, I believe replying to this one is helping me change some of my thinking!

golfer44

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2014, 05:42:56 PM »
This 'road rage' consists of me yelling obscenities at the other drivers, sometimes honking (when they almost hit me), or flashing my lights (also usually when they almost hit me).  I yell at people for going slow, for not accelerating fast enough, for braking for no reason, etc...

Quote
I drive super aggressively: brake hard, accelerate quickly, pretty much go 10 over the speed light, etc..

Quote
I have to be a defensive driver around here (I swear there is no drivers test in this area or something)

Uhhhhh........... maybe you're the problem.

Just because YOU need to be there "as quickly as you can" means you can be a total fucking jackass to everybody on the road, creating a hazard to everyone around you and making THEIR commute more dangerous?

Do everybody a favor and get off the fucking roads.

engineerjourney

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2014, 05:54:46 PM »
Ouch! I figured I would get some hate from this question.  My braking hard or honking/lights are when someone doesn't signal a lane change and just moves over without looking.  I freely admit that speeding could affect others badly but I don't tailgate or anything. Accelerating quickly is just hurting my gas mileage, no one else.  And the yelling is purely in my car..  I do a lot of other things correctly and courteously that don't seem to be standard policies sadly, like always fully stopping at stop signs, not cutting turns too close, always always signalling my intent.  I obviously wasn't going to talk to those in my first post since I wanted input on ideas to improve my thinking, not a pat on the back for the things I do right.  Thanks for highlighting my asshole tendencies, as I said, I know these are asshole things and I am trying to figure out why I do them when outside my car those tendencies do not exist. 

golfer44

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2014, 06:34:24 PM »
Well, I read it as you wrote it, "super aggressively". That, to me, is a hazard to everybody on the road.

Just please think twice before you literally risk somebody else's life because you need to get to work 2 minutes faster.

Noodle

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2014, 06:58:32 PM »
Try this. Leave for everywhere 15 minutes before you think you need to until you break this habit. I find I drive more aggressively when I feel I am running late.

Then the other thing...find ways to think of the other drivers as human beings. I read a study of why people treat others so terribly on the roads, and it's similar to how badly some people behave on the Internet. If a human isn't standing in front of us, it takes a conscious effort to think of them as another person. So every time you get tempted to yell, drive aggressively, whatever, try to imagine some good reason that person is driving the way they are. Think of them as vulnerable. Maybe it's a person who has just moved to your city and doesn't know where anything is. Maybe English isn't their first language and they are trying to translate road signs and drive at the same time. Maybe it's a new mom and dad bringing their baby home from the hospital and driving extra carefully. Maybe it's someone coming home from the doctor who just got a terrible diagnosis, or someone who was in a bad car accident recently and is scared to be back on the road. Think of yourself as a person whose job it is to look after them by letting them have the space to drive their way.

And don't imagine the other drivers aren't noticing your behavior (that's part of the psychological phenomenon.) Trust us--we do.

the fixer

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2014, 07:21:34 PM »
I think you at least deserve some acknowledgement for realizing you have a problem enough to post a question about it. That's admirable.

I've become a lot more laid back when I drive in the past year or so. A big part of it is safety. In my experience everyone gets involved in about one serious car collision in their lifetime. I'm not looking forward to experiencing mine, and I'd like to see if I can avoid it entirely, both for my own longterm health and to avoid the financial fallout of the event (I don't carry comprehensive/collision on my car, and you shouldn't either). The other big part is saving gas. Every time I push the gas pedal I'm committing to spend money to replace that fuel that was in the tank. If there's a red light ahead or a lot of traffic it doesn't benefit me to speed up.

So as a result of all this I tend to drive like a grandma. I often don't even drive the speed limit unless I'm actively trying to. I ease off the gas and roll down hills to save energy. I leave plenty of space in front of me for the car ahead.

One more thing that might help: most of the awful driving you're seeing is not something you should be taking personally. Driving defensively means you can anticipate and avoid the stupid people around you, and if you're already doing that why get so upset when other people end up acting just like how you expect them to? This is something I think I learned from biking BTW, because the consequences of a car hitting you are so much higher.

For instance, if I'm driving (or biking) much faster than a lane of cars next to me, it's possible that any one of those cars is going to try to cut into my lane just ahead of me. I adjust my speed accordingly and become hyper-vigilant. If one of them actually tries something stupid, that means I probably just avoided a crash! Sweet!

engineerjourney

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2014, 07:31:47 PM »
Wow, thanks Noodle!  Very insightful reply.  That is a great idea.  The obscurity of being in the car seems to bring out the worst in me.  I will try imagining I am walking down a grocery store aisle or something equally public while I am driving, that should curb the cursing (which seems to be the most prevalent problem, the other behaviors are not as often as this one).

And don't imagine the other drivers aren't noticing your behavior (that's part of the psychological phenomenon.) Trust us--we do.
 
You know, I notice when other drivers are being assholes, like when they go even faster than me and ride my bumper, so obviously it should have occurred to me that the other drivers would notice at least some of my assholeishness (this should be a real word) too.  I have to think that even though they may not be able to hear what I am saying it is likely that they have been able to see the anger in my face. 

I will be putting all these ideas into practice ASAP.  Its one thing to know there is a problem but I was struggling with figuring out WHY I acted so different in my car vs outside of it.  This thread is really helping me think outside of the box I was in when it came to driving.  My parents always said they had lead feet, others drive way more awful than I do, etc.. those things don't give me the right to be 'less awful' when really the less wasn't that much less. 

golfer44

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2014, 07:34:33 PM »
You'll find that when you're not an asshole, there are a lot less assholes on the road.

I hang out in the slow lane, pass in the middle lane, and watch the rat race have at it in the fast lane... I don't envy them.

engineerjourney

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2014, 07:41:29 PM »
One more thing that might help: most of the awful driving you're seeing is not something you should be taking personally. Driving defensively means you can anticipate and avoid the stupid people around you, and if you're already doing that why get so upset when other people end up acting just like how you expect them to? This is something I think I learned from biking BTW, because the consequences of a car hitting you are so much higher.

For instance, if I'm driving (or biking) much faster than a lane of cars next to me, it's possible that any one of those cars is going to try to cut into my lane just ahead of me. I adjust my speed accordingly and become hyper-vigilant. If one of them actually tries something stupid, that means I probably just avoided a crash! Sweet!

Amazing!! You are so right!  I don't know why I would get upset by a behavior that I am already trying to take into account. 

As for the crashes... thankfully I haven't been in an accident with another car/person yet (fingers-crossed ever), partially thanks to my awareness.  Thinking about it though... there are deer everywhere here; at midnight, on a long drive to the airport to pick up some friends a deer hit the car driving next to me on the highway (while we were going 70) and bounced off that car right into my front bumper then under my car.  I was terrified of driving for months afterward (thankfully I kept my head and no one was injured besides the cars, well, and the poor deer).  I really think my anger driving was significantly worsened after the experience.  I still get tense at certain times a day... heres to exploring physiological things on the internet with strangers! 

You'll find that when you're not an asshole, there are a lot less assholes on the road.

I hang out in the slow lane, pass in the middle lane, and watch the rat race have at it in the fast lane... I don't envy them.
Sounds like an enjoyable way to drive, I hope to join you in the slow lane next time I drive. 

prosaic

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2014, 07:50:14 PM »
I used to be like this until I had kids who heard me doing it and my son asked, "Mommy, why are all the idiots on the road when you drive and not when Daddy drives?"

And that day I stopped. Cold turkey.

I completely retrained my brain to think that I have the *luxury of time* to get where I need to get using as much time as I need. it's a simple thought exercise. I play music I love, and make the car as enjoyable as possible. Reducing the stress level makes driving so much easier.

1967mama

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2014, 07:54:05 PM »
I see by your profile that you're only 26 -- but still -- what must this be doing to your blood pressure???!!!

engineerjourney

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2014, 08:05:07 PM »
I used to be like this until I had kids who heard me doing it and my son asked, "Mommy, why are all the idiots on the road when you drive and not when Daddy drives?"
Wow, thank you for sharing.  I have subjected my husband to it enough and I don't know how he has managed to only give me looks of "really?"  He is a good driver and one I struggled to be a passenger with because he didn't drive as aggressive as me or left "too much room" between cars so others could cut in... I am going to enjoy the ride when he drives from now on.

I see by your profile that you're only 26 -- but still -- what must this be doing to your blood pressure???!!!
haha, (luckily?) I actually have low blood pressure and used to pass out all the time due to it.  This may not be affecting my blood pressure negatively but it definitely has affected my mental health negatively and needs to be stopped.  And it will be! 

No more will I be that driver!  I will be the slow driver I used to get mad at, the one that didn't seem to be in a rush, the one that obviously didn't know how important it was to go go go. 

golfer44

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2014, 09:42:49 PM »
I also started listening to podcasts or audio books when I have longer drives, instead of music. I find this puts value on my time spent in the car, so instead of it being a hassle, I really like the time I spend on the road.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2014, 09:44:51 PM by golfer44 »

Jamesqf

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2014, 10:27:39 PM »
Also, I drive super aggressively: brake hard, accelerate quickly, pretty much go 10 over the speed light, etc.. I do this because I want to get there quicker...

But if you experiment, and measure the results, you'll discover that it usually doesn't get you there quicker.  What does is thinking ahead and anticipating traffic flow, light changes, and so on.  I really enjoy having someone like you blow past me as we come up to a light that I know is about to change, jam on his brakes and come to a full stop just as it turns green.  Meanwhile I cruise on by, and am a hundred yards or so down the road before he gets moving again.

jnik

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2014, 07:01:42 AM »
I think a dose of the ol' MMM treatment may help. As you start driving aggressively, sing out loud "I'm being an asshole. I'm being an asshole. I'm shoving money out my tailpipe and pissing everybody off because I'm being an asshole." Hopefully that will help you laugh off some of the tension and settle in. The main thought I have in mind when driving is "smooth": smooth acceleration, smooth braking (or coasting), just flow.

If you're going to drive, you're going to be spending time in the car. As others have said, best to make sure you're reasonably comfortable. Give yourself a few extra minutes, make sure you're dressed appropriately for the cold, make sure your windows are clear so you aren't contending with bad visibility on top of everything.

CHOPAG

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2014, 07:59:28 AM »
You said that you have the higher MPG car, but does that mean your husband can't drive it? Maybe you could at least split the driving 50/50 in your car. Riding with a safe driver can be relaxing if you let it be. You don't even have to pay attention to the road if you don't want to.

Music and funny (free!) podcasts make driving much more enjoyable. Laughing and rage don't really go together.

wtjbatman

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2014, 08:33:23 AM »
You need to learn to drive defensively by default, not just because you "have" to. And driving defensively does not involve flipping people off, flashing your lights, or honking at them. I think that if you follow this advice you will find your commute becoming a lot more tolerable. If not, at least it lessens your chance of becoming a victim of real road rage.

engineerjourney

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2014, 09:04:58 AM »
Thanks everyone! I am really glad I started this thread.  Knowing you have a problem doesn't always make change/fixing it easier, I needed this to re-think all my motivations and change my thinking which will change my actions. 

I think a dose of the ol' MMM treatment may help. As you start driving aggressively, sing out loud "I'm being an asshole. I'm being an asshole. I'm shoving money out my tailpipe and pissing everybody off because I'm being an asshole." Hopefully that will help you laugh off some of the tension and settle in.
I laughed out loud just now reading this.  Great idea! :-) 

You said that you have the higher MPG car, but does that mean your husband can't drive it?
He doesn't like to :-(  We had only one car for a long time and even then he didn't like driving "my car".  We will have a discussion about it!

All of you who recommended podcasts or audio books, thanks for the idea!  I have never listened to either before so I will try to find some for my longer drives!

Mortgage Free Mike

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2014, 09:29:07 AM »
I would suggest making sure you budget adequate time to get from Point A to Point B. Sometimes we rush around so much in life. I make sure I allow enough time to get all of my tasks done. Instant stress relief.
Best of luck to you. Please be careful driving. It is not just your life you are protecting.

Greg

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2014, 10:10:17 AM »
They've already tested this out, the difference between the aggressive driver and the courteous driver and how it affects the time it takes.  In trials, the aggressive driver got to the destination a minute or so earlier on a modest commute.  I don't remember the time/distance.

The big difference was in how the two types of drivers felt after arriving, one group was relaxed and had a great day, the other group was cranky and stressed, and it affected the rest of their days.  Guess which was which.

All the points about your behavior are pretty spot-on.  In some areas you can be cited for this kind of aggressive driving.  The advice to allow extra time is a good one.  Arriving early is one of my favorite activities.

CHOPAG

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2014, 11:28:48 AM »

All of you who recommended podcasts or audio books, thanks for the idea!  I have never listened to either before so I will try to find some for my longer drives!

If you like funny stuff, check out You Look Nice Today, Roderick on the Line, Judge John Hodgman and My Brother, My Brother and Me. By the time you've worked through all of the episodes of those, you'll practically have reached FIRE.

Gray Matter

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2014, 12:04:00 PM »
I used to be like this until I had kids who heard me doing it and my son asked, "Mommy, why are all the idiots on the road when you drive and not when Daddy drives?"

Love it!  Also love that you used it as a catalyst to stop.  It reminds me something that happened a few years ago.  I was driving the two youngest home from daycare at the end of day, lost in thought, when a little voice pipes up from the backseat, "Mom, is that car a fucking car?"  I asked him to repeat it and, yup, that's really what he said.  I asked him why he thought that, and he said, "Well, they slowed down and almost made us miss our green light."

Half of me was appalled at what I must, with some regularity, mutter (not quite) under my breath.  The other half of me was impressed that a four-year-old had managed to figure out what makes a car a fucking car at such a young age!  I wouldn't say I stopped cold turkey, but I am much better than I used to be.  Interestingly, I swear at "cars," not drivers.  It helps when I remind myself that there are actual people driving them, people with full and busy lives, things to take care of and worry about, and we're all doing the best we can.

GuitarStv

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2014, 12:48:00 PM »
GuitarStv's rules to relaxation:

- Stomping on the gas and brake don't really get you where you're going faster.
- You don't own the space on the road in front of you.
- Honking, shouting, flashing lights at best just gives people incentive to treat you worse.
- The other people driving are people, just like you.  People make mistakes.  Cut some slack.

I find when I can remember those points my drives are pretty calm.

loki

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2014, 08:37:21 AM »
I used to be like this until I had kids who heard me doing it and my son asked, "Mommy, why are all the idiots on the road when you drive and not when Daddy drives?"

I love it.

To the OP, you're clearly insightful enough to realize that you're doing something you'd like to change, which is great. Try the advice in this thread that works for you. Personally, I drive with a fuel consumption gauge (an Ultraguage), so I'm always hypermiling wherever I'm going. That and leaving early are my two biggest tips for driving more calmly. It also might help to watch a few crash test videos of your car to see what can happen in even an in-town (40 mph) crash.

lithy

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2014, 10:57:49 AM »
While you haven't gotten a lot of support for your driving habits, I'll go ahead and post it for internet posterity that I know exactly where you're coming from.

I love driving.  I would love driving even more if everyone would just get out of my way.

Things that help me to relax that you may or may not already do.

Pay attention to when you make mistakes.  While it does seem way too often that people are just meandering down the road without a clue, try to think of the times when you've been a little lost and aren't quite sure which block will be the turn you have to make.  If someone merges carelessly in front of you, think about the times when you changed lanes and then looked up to see someone right in your rear-view that you hadn't noticed.  This is my forgive and forget mentality that I sum up with the following: Everyone on the road is an idiot, including myself.

Basically make yourself realize that while we like to perceive ourselves as better drivers than many, and honestly I'm sure we are.  Even the best drivers make mistakes.  Honking, flashing your high beams, etc., will probably do nothing to the person who already knows they made a mistake or it will startle an already tenuously skilled driver causing an even more unsafe situation.

With that said, I think parts of what some people term aggressive driving are in fact defensive maneuvers.  I will not sit in a pack of cars on the interstate at 60 mph and will make every effort to move around them.  If one person makes a mistake we are all in trouble and I view that as a dangerous situation that I would like to remove myself from as quickly as possible.  On the other hand, be more patient, especially in city driving.  The post about racing from red light to red light is pretty spot on.  You might catch one light and it feels like a victory but that's only a couple minutes of your entire drive at most.

The leaving a little early suggestion is a great one as well, works especially well for my morning drive because if I leave by 6:15 as opposed to 6:45 there are probably half as many cars on the road to begin with.

engineerjourney

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #33 on: March 02, 2014, 11:59:52 AM »
OP here, just wanted to come back a week later and report in.

THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO RESPONDED!!  I can happily say that my driving experience has been changed forever and my stress level is sooooo much lower.  I don't mind driving as much anymore.  I now happily drive along at a slower pace singing to the radio, any other drivers now see a happy person not some angry she-devil driving. 

A couple observations over the week:
- My once a week 40 min drive was only increased to 43 mins by driving under the speed limit! So the increase in time for my much shorter daily commute to work is not even measurable but driving slower.
- Holy cow people speed here!  I am now going 64 mph on the 65 mph highway and have only passed three cars the entire week.. everyone else was flying by me!
- People like to tail gate even if I am in the slower lane and they can go around me.  I am soooo happy I never tail gated people during my speeding driving but I really don't understand the thought process of someone driving up my butt when there is a lane open just for their use for passing me.  Sigh, jerks.  (now I feel bad for them instead of angry, win!).
- I still drive defensively but now I don't get angry when someone acts as I accounted for.  I am just happy I account for oblivious people when someone say suddenly cuts over without signaling.
*- Improved my gas mileage by over 3 mpg compared to last week and this week was significantly colder so I believe it would have been more had the weather cooperated. 

Thanks again for this thread, some great questions for me here that helped me explore my motivations, I hope others with the same bad habits as me get some use from this thread in the future!
« Last Edit: March 03, 2014, 05:59:41 AM by engineerjourney »

Greg

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Re: Dealing with 'road rage', improving gas mileage
« Reply #34 on: March 02, 2014, 02:16:14 PM »
Thanks for the follow up.  At first I thought it was sarcastic, but it seems not.

People speed, people tailgate, etc.  Can't do much about that except how you react.

When someone's driving up my ass I make sure to give more warning about stopping and turning.  I like to leave extra room in front of my collector car when I drive, so it's common for other drivers to see that and freak out.  They just didn't have ABS in the 70's (not on cars).