Amidst Construction & Road Work Signs, Stay Calm and Drive Defensively

If you have been living in El Paso for the past couple of years, you’ve seen your fair share of roadwork, roadblocks, and detour signs. If you live on the West side of town you have probably grown a few gray hairs since the I-10 project construction project began. You may have even aged a year or two. The point is, it has not been easy on commuters and this has caused a lot of accidents, a lot of road anxiety, impatience, frustration, and yes, road rage. All of this adds up, of course, and it manifests in more aggressive and often distracted driving. So let’s take a look at how experts say you can avoid road rage and even make the most of your driving time.

Dealing With El Paso Traffic

For the past couple of years, there has been closure after closure and it seems that just about every day a stalled vehicle, an accident, a fender bender, will hold up traffic for hours on end. First, it was Paisana (or the Border Highway) that was closed. Then, the Executive entrance ramp going West. Then, there was the Sunland park intersection and exit ramps. Work on 375 has also been ongoing. Resler ramp closed early in 2019. Gateway Blvd East has also seen its fair share of closures in early 2019. The shoulders on I-10 have been significantly reduced so that a flat tire or a vehicle emergency will often mean a closed lane, which means back up, which means people screaming in their cars or cursing the high heavens. This leads to distractions, which leads to accidents, which leads to more cursing. It’s a vicious cycle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that 94% of all traffic accidents are caused by driver error. Of those accidents, 33% could be linked to road rage behaviors. Road rage behavior can vary in degree and intensity. Data gathered by safemotorist.com stated that about 66% of recent traffic fatalities can be linked to aggressive driving.

What is Road Rage?

You may not even know you have it in you, but you do. It just takes the right circumstances to bring it all out. Maybe you’re having a bad day, late for work, have just been dumped by your girlfriend, have just lost a family member, etc etc. Life is full of pressing issues and we all have them. These can easily sneak into our actions if we are not very conscious as we drive. You will likely recognize these behaviors. People start to yell or curse at the other drivers. Road rage really becomes dangerous when it starts to affect the way you drive and clouds your judgment. For example, when it leads you to switch lanes recklessly without turn signals, when it leads you to fishtail the other driver. In some instances, it has led people to actually make contact with other drivers and instigate physical violence, often with firearms.

Tips for Safer and Better Driving

So you have to get to point A to point B regardless of obstacles you have to endure the road. This is a good mentality to start off with. For most of us, it’s been years since we’ve taken the classes to get our license and we may not remember some important tips.

  • Breathing. Experts say that taking in deep breaths is not only a calming technique, but it has real physiological effects to your body that help create feelings of well-being, calm, and awareness. Recent studies have shown that nerves in the brain that control breathing are connected to the arousal center of the brain. So when you get on the road and you see a sea of brake lights in front of you, breathe. Just breathe.
  • Put your phone away. If you are in a hurry, late for work, or late to meet someone, looking at your phone every two minutes, will not be beneficial. In fact, it feeds the anxiety. Just focus on the road and get to where you want to go.
  • Audiobooks. Listening to audiobooks is a great way to make the most of your time on the road. It helps relax you and gets your mind involved in a different story. This can help calm the nerves and keep you on track.
  • Music. Listening to your favorite music can be a great way to zone out the chaos around you and focus on the music you are hearing. Nobody is judging you so go ahead and sing your heart out.
  • Drive defensively. Don’t assume that others are paying attention. The definition of a defensive driver means you are always on alert. It means you do not fall asleep at the wheel and assume others will follow all the rules. Constantly use your mirrors, side and rear view.  Keep mental notes of drivers you see acting funny around you. Don’t text and drive. Make note of motorcycle drivers. Make sure you are not too close to the person in front of you. Don’t speed. Don’t text and drive. Try to use the left lane to pass. Use your turn signals. Etc etc. Defensive driving is the best way to ensure that you and your passengers are safe.
  • Don’t text and drive. Did we mention this already? Yes! But it’s super important. Not only is it against the law in Texas to text and drive, it is extremely dangerous. In fact, an officer can pull you over and give you a citation if he suspects you are texting and driving.

Got In An Accident? Call the Trusted Law Experts

Huerta Law Firm handles personal injury claims from auto and truck accidents. We want you to be safe out there. Just because you are safe, however, doesn’t mean that others drive safe. So if you’ve been hit by a reckless driver and suffered injuries, call the trusted lawyers to help you navigate the complex loops of the law.