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Read about the connection between road rage and hot weather, and then find out how you can keep cool and calm during your commute this summer.

Hot weather and road rage: How to keep calm and cool during your commute

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Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 12:48 PM -

As the summer months roll in, commuters have more to worry about than just the traffic. Warmer months give way to extreme temperatures, which means the long journey is likely to be a very hot and sticky one.

With humidity, temperatures in Toronto are expected to reach the mid-30s. So what's the connection between commuting and the hot weather? John Vavrik, corporate consulting psychologist at Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), says there is anecdotal evidence of a relationship between hot weather and anger on the road.

In the summer we tend to be in a little bit more of a rush to get home from work," said Vavrik. “In vehicles especially with no air conditioning, people tend to have their windows down, so you’re exposed to more noise,” he added.

Due to an increase in road expansion and restoration projects in the GTA, construction is also at a high. Vavrik said this leads to an increase in unexpected slowdowns and detours, which may contribute to a more frustrating commuting experience.

“We do know from some research with drivers, including drivers that were involved in crashes, we asked them about the various contributing factors, and they do mention when it is hot outside they tend to be more irritable, they tend to experience more road rage from other drivers as well,” Vavrik notes.

Although the summer can make commuting just as unpleasant as the winter, there are plenty of ways to keep your mind off the heat and stay relaxed during your daily drive. Below are four strategies to help you keep cool and calm when on the road this summer:

1. Listen to music at a moderate sound level. Music has specific therapeutic effects, while also making the drive more enjoyable.

2. Avoid your cellphone. Even using a hands-free device is a form of distraction on the road, with serious risks. Instead of lighting up your screen to check them time, put your phone far out of reach and accept that you’ll be at your destination soon enough. Texting and driving is both illegal in Ontario and extremely dangerous.

3. Invest in a windshield sunshade. This is a pre-commute strategy, but one that makes all the difference. If your car will be left in an area under direct sunlight, use a windshield sunshade to ease the heat when you begin your commute.

4. Stay hydrated. Water is crucial during hot summer months, and drinking up during your commute will ensure that you don’t get lightheaded or dizzy from dehydration. Ice water may also help you feel a little cooler overall.

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