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Heatwave fuels road rage – How to keep your cool this summer



Keep cool and carry on!’ With temperatures soaring to 32 degrees in some parts of the UK last week, aggression levels may also be on the rise with research highlighting the link between the rise in heat with drivers losing their cool at the wheel.

Car finance start-up Carmoola has looked into the correlation between heat waves and road rage to reveal why we tend to get a little more antsy in the heat and ways to combat and keep calm during the warmer months.

Studies suggest an increase in aggression on hotter days could be linked to how our bodies respond to heat and our response to adrenaline. Examples of this physiological overlap can be found in increased heart rate and sweating, physical sensations that we experience with anger and heat meaning our brains can mix the two up. 

As well as this, the feeling of being too hot when sitting in a car can cause physical discomfort. Experiences of a hot steering wheel or your back sticking to the seat may lead to behaviours that are a little harsher than usual. According to behavioural scientist Joshua Klapow, PhD, “As temperatures rise, we can become more emotional and angrier. But only as we move from relative comfort to relative discomfort. As we become more physically uncomfortable, our ability to manage our emotions is diminished.”

When the sun is shining, open car windows are a common sight… but as drivers we may forget, leading to sounds of “self-expression” of a less-than-pleasant nature becoming more common. A few ill-chosen words or seemingly minor hand gestures can lead to big consequences and is something that needs to be considered during the warmer weather.

On top of road rage being dangerous, it can also lead to penalties. According to The Highway Code, “a horn should only be used when warning someone of any danger due to another vehicle or any other kind of danger, and not to indicate your annoyance.” Drivers aggressively using their horns, gesticulating to other road users, or screaming out of the window, can lead to up to nine points on your license and a potential £1,000 fine.

With this in mind, Carmoola has launched its Anti-Road Rage Pack, which will be provided to all new customers in an effort to calm drivers down in those frustrating moments on the road. Providing drivers with two pairs of ‘Calm-oola’ socks in Baker-Miller Pink – a colour scientifically observed to reduce aggression and have a calming effect. The pack also contains an air freshener which Carmoola has imbued with the scents of lavender and rose, which are said to have the aromatherapeutic benefits of soothing nerves and have even been linked to reduced blood pressure.

Tips on how to cool down your traffic temper:

Carmoola CEO Aidan Rushby said, “Whilst the warmer weather might heat up drivers’ tempers, it’s important to take the right steps to keep your cool behind the wheel during the summer months.”

  • Reduce the amount of time spent on the roads during peak times if possible to avoid potential road rage
  • Try alternative routes if your planned route is particularly busy
  • Stay hydrated and keep water with you on any journey
  • Lower your body temperature as much as possible with air conditioning or cracking open a window
  • Practice deep breathing to remain calm in stressful situations
  • Aim to be well-rested before a drive as heat can also make you feel more tired

“Studies have shown that road rage is a phenomenon the majority of drivers have experienced, and being stressed or angry while driving is not just distracting but puts road users at risk. We want to give people a better and happier day so we designed our anti-road rage kit to help keep drivers calm at the wheel.

Whilst it can be difficult to avoid feelings of anger during a heat wave when driving, remember that every driver is likely experiencing the same discomfort so aim to be calm and forgiving during a situation where another driver may cause frustration.

As drivers, we all make mistakes so if you’re a witness to this during the hot weather, count to 10, take a deep breath and aim to move on with your journey.”

Paul Beecher, National Network Manager at National Highways, said: “As we enter the summer months and the mercury in the thermometer climbs, it’s crucial that motorists plan their journey in advance so they are best prepared.

“We urge everyone travelling in the hot weather to be well prepared, check travel conditions, and inspect their vehicle before setting out. These safety checks include checking your tyres, oil and coolant levels and importantly, ensuring you are carrying plenty of drinking water, fluids and provisions.

“Safety is one of National Highways top priorities and we want everyone to arrive at their destinations safely.”

Read the full article here