How to keep your cool and beat road rage during Seattle Squeeze

How to keep your cool and beat road rage during Seattle Squeeze (PHOTO: KOMO News)

Anticipating the traffic can help us mentally prepare for what's to come - but road rage isn't the easiest thing to manage. But there are things you can do to keep that anger in check. Heavy traffic is expected to grip our region after the viaduct is shut down. So we spoke to a few people on how to keep your cool and beat road rage during Seattle Squeeze.

Traffic can be bad in Seattle and has frustrated many drivers.

“There’s a lot of yelling yeah,” and “a lot of middle fingers.”

“People honk unnecessarily or swear out the window,” said food vendor Kyle Moore.

It's about to get even worse.

“I’m sure it’s going to be crazy,” said shuttle driver Chris Cash.

Cash, who drives the Seattle waterfront shuttle that is free to everyone, offered his two cents for frustrated commuters.

“Pray, meditate, do whatever you can before you come out and deal with (the traffic),” said Cash.

Moore has these words of advice on how to let go of that anger: remember, we're all human.

“Those people want to be home too. You’re not alone being off the road,” said Moore.

“Practice patience and kindness, this as we really all have to come together as a community,” said SDOT Director of Downtown Mobility Heather Marx.

Our local leaders remind us to be kind and be patient during this 3 week, potentially nightmarish commute. But the question is: how?

Dr. Brad Lichenstein teaches naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University. He says try this to relieve your stress behind the wheel:

“The first thing is to imagine breathing into the belly. Allow the belly to expand. Second thing, as you exhale, blow out the air slowly as you can imagine blowing out your frustration. And, the third thing is as you are gripping the wheel, see if you can drop the shoulders as you're holding the wheel,” said Lichenstein.

Letting go of your anger and being kind seems easier said than done -- especially when others lay on the horn first making us want to do the same.

“They'll hit the horn or they'll scream at people,” said Lichenstein. “Just to also recognize the minute we do that, we’re also increasing our own rage. It's just going to perpetuate it.”

So when someone honks at you? He said, remember this:

“I say I bet they're having a bad day,” said Lichenstein. “It allows me to rewire.”

He says being kind can have a domino effect. Letting another driver in might inspire that driver to do the same to someone else.

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