A new road campaign says that practicing mindfulness will help reduce needless road rage.

The National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP) along with Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and Budget Direct have launched a campaign to set driver’s minds at ease and reduce road rage incidents when they get back on the road following lockdown.

Citing surveys and research, the group believes that simple mindfulness will be the answer to reducing many road rage incidents that can be avoided, particularly given the potential for frustrated drivers as traffic congestion builds once again.

“Mindfulness will become particularly important when more drivers emerge out of COVID-19 lockdown,” said MUARC aggressive driving expert, Dr Amanda Stephens.

“There is likely to be a shift in community mood as drivers return to the roads and are reacquainted with travel delays and increased road congestion.”

Budget Direct says that it found in its independent surveys 80 per cent of respondents did not believe they exhibited road rage, though 65 per cent had been shouted at or received rude gestures, and 22 per cent ‘have shown aggression towards a cyclist’ in the last 12 months.

“How you feel is how you drive, so a negative mood will translate into poor driving practice,” said Stephens.

“Most drivers see others as the problem, so it’s really important to focus on our own mental wellbeing during our travel time and commit ourselves to a positive driving experience.”

On top of the list of things that are likely to push people over the edge when driving a car are potentially dangerous behaviour from other road users, rudeness or discourtesy from other road users, travel delays, and direct aggression from other road users.

The answer, according to the group think tank, is a new ‘Travel Time. Your Time’ campaign. It promotes mindfulness as a mechanism to escape the noise and frustration sometimes present when driving, and elect to disengage from confrontation rather than join in, or even instigate it.

“Mindfulness encourages drivers to be aware of their actions and emotions in the present moment and to be open and non-judgmental towards situations. This means accepting the situation and choosing not to react with negative emotions, while shifting to positive thinking,” say the media statement.

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