HOUSTON — There’s no way to avoid Houston traffic.
Whether it’s on city streets or on the highway, drivers are going to get stuck in it.
The stress and frustration that is associated with congestion can cause some people to lose their cool while behind the wheel.
Bryan Blakeny, a mental health therapist, has lived in Houston for 15 years and knows a thing or two about getting stuck in traffic and the emotions people go through.
He said it’s easy for people to get angry and warns that road rage is a real thing.
However, Blakeny said there’s ways to stay in control during these types of situations.
“Unless we leave enough time, good luck in trying to get where we want to go especially if it’s in the west side of town, Galleria area," Blakeny said. "It’s usually at a standstill. My clients, especially, because they’re often running late or caught in traffic and sometimes we have to take a few minutes just to chill because they’re so ticked off from the traffic.”
He said it’s important to remember that other drivers are in different emotional states.
“Some people are on vacation. Some people, it’s their day off. They’re in no rush,” Blakeny said.
Also, Blakeny said getting angry causes physical strains on the body.
"All it does is it raises our heart rates, stresses us out and then we’re sweating and agitated when we get to our destination.”
He added that anger management helps deal with the different emotions.
“First thing is I need to become aware of my body so my breathing. My hands," Blakeny said of controlling a road rage situation. "One of the things as I’m driving is to consciously make sure that my grip on the steering wheel is tight. If I can physically loosen my grip I can physically relax my body.”
However, he said each person is different.
What works for one person may not work for everyone.
In addition, Blakeny warned of being "emotionally hijacked."
“When our heart rate gets above 90 beats a minute we run the risk of being emotionally hijacked. That’s when we get literally flooded with stress hormones like adrenaline,” he said. “When they get hijacked they are no longer in control. There’s no saying. They may be the sweetest person in the world. They might end up in jail that day.
“If we lose our cool and we injure someone and we kill someone we cannot take it back for a lifetime.”
He suggested drivers should try not to go into autopilot.
If you are one of those drivers who gets road rage behind the wheel Blakeny said it’s OK to seek professional help.
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