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Increasingly, driving induces more aggravation and stress than it does pleasure and comfort. Road rage is a common phenomenon now, so much so that we’ve grown to accept it as an inherent downside to driving. But there are ways to remedy this. If everyone abided by a general set of principles and customs, there’d be less road rage and more civility. None of us are perfect drivers and we’re all bound to make a few mistakes, hopefully the majority of them small and not accident inducing. But with a greater resolve to become less selfish on the road, ideal driving conditions will not be hard to achieve.

Merging

Don’t wait until the very last second to merge at an exit or an ending lane. This creates stop-and-go traffic and causes longer traffic jams as the people trying to merge encounter resistance from the next lane. Merge early into the appropriate lane to avoid clogging up traffic. Conversely, if you’re already in the exit lane, allow people to merge in front of you early by leaving a wider gap between you and the car in front of you. Don’t feel the need to close the gap immediately, it serves no purpose. And every car that merges in front of you only adds another second to your commute time. Check out this video to see how this plays out in reality. Also, don’t forget to thank those who let you merge by raising a hand.

Tailgating

Don’t tailgate. It’s not only discourteous it’s dangerous. Kissing the bumper of the car in front of you won’t make them go faster. Leave enough braking distance to avoid any unfortunate accidents. There’s little worse than checking your rear-view mirror and seeing the car behind you virtually kissing your behind. To deal with tailgaters, don’t slow down abruptly as that will cause an accident and don’t speed up as this will encourage them. You should gradually slow down in an attempt to frustrate the tailgater and encourage him or her to change lanes.

Wave traffic through

If you’re in a traffic jam on a busy street and someone from a small side street is trying to cross the street or turn onto it heading in the opposite direction to you, leave a space for him to pass and let him know when it’s safe to pass by waving him through. That driver will have a great many blind-spots and your kindness will make it safer for everyone on the road.

Select a safe space when turning onto a busy street

A familiar scenario: you’re driving fairly relaxed on a multilane street and suddenly out of a small side street a car hastily turns just in front of you. This doesn’t just cause frustration, but it can cause accidents.

Signal

For God’s sake, when did it become okay to be lazy and not signal? It’s not hard to do, honestly. When changing lanes, on a roundabout, or turning onto another street, SIGNAL! It’s not just a courtesy, it’s the law. It avoids confusion and warns other drivers of your intentions. The number of people who don’t signal is astonishing. Don’t be one of those people.

Sarah Paige is a small business owner and freelance writer who enjoys his quiet office space in St Leonards.