Keep your cool behind the wheel

November 1, 1997

Pharmaceutical Representative

Reps often spend much of their days behind the wheels of their automobiles, clawing past congestion, feeding toll booths and speeding to beat the clock.

Reps often spend much of their days behind the wheels of their automobiles, clawing past congestion, feeding toll booths and speeding to beat the clock.

More and more frequently, the California State Automobile Association says, they are also encountering rude, angry drivers.

"Congestion is undoubtedly a factor in the increase of road rage incidents," said Bronwyn Hogan, a spokesperson for AAA in Northern California.

Other factors include driver failure to adhere to the rules of the road, gridlock traffic, offensive gestures and other aggressive behavior. Some of the worst cases occur when traffic is so heavy that there is nowhere to go. Frustration and feelings of aggression can degenerate into violent physical attacks when drivers get out of their cars.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has offered a few tips to "put the brake on road rage" during stressful traffic situations. Although not all of them are appropriate for sales reps due to reps' needs for flexibility, some of the tips make good common sense. Consider adopting one or all of the following suggestions:


•Â Alter your schedule to avoid the worst congestion hours.


•Â While in traffic, concentrate on relaxing.


•Â Check with your employer to see what options are available to ease the stress of commuting, such as car-pooling.


•Â Pursue alternate methods of transportation.


•Â Always avoid conflict when it is at all possible.

If you are challenged, take a deep breath and get out of the way. If you have nowhere to go, avoid provoking the other driver.

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