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Driving in Ramazan inevitably leads to bouts of road rage, especially during the afternoon when everyone is in a rush to get home.

Breakthrough research has some new advice on how to deal with road rage:

Get Enough Sleep. According to an episode of MythBusters (a TV show on The Discovery Channel), sleepy drivers are bad drivers, because they are usually in a bad mood and drive erratically. So make sure you get enough sleep.

Cool Down With Classical Music. A study by the American Psychological Association (APA) finds that aggressive music, such as rock and gangster rap, induces hostile behaviour. Flipping the logic, it makes sense to listen to calming music that will soothe your nerves while you drive. Give Ravi Shankar a try.

Soothing Scents. Dr Alan Hirsch, Director of the Smell and Taste Research Foundation in Chicago says, “The body’s limbic center – the part of the brain that controls your emotions – is directly connected to the olfactory system.” Research shows that lavender has a calming effect, peppermint induces wakefulness, and citrus flavours make people happier, so use these scents in your car with air fresheners.

Breathe. Slowly. From the Art of Living Foundation to John Schinnerer, Phd in Educational Psychology, everyone says that breathing properly is the best way to calm down. Slow, deep breaths regulate blood pressure levels and also increase oxygen supply to the brain, leading you to think more rationally when driving.

Talk About It. Dr James Leon, author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving, suggests that drivers who meet regularly to discuss their driving experiences succeed in managing road rage better than those who don’t. Calling these meetings ‘Quality Driving Circles’, his research indicates that people in these groups tend to learn from each other’s mistakes and motivate each other to be better drivers by sharing strategies on which routes to take. This, he says, leads to a dramatic change in their behaviour on the road.

— Syed Shayan Shakeel

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