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Is Road Rage Affecting Your Employees’ Work Performance?

Road rage on the way to work As if those emails piling into your inbox on an hourly basis isn’t enough, there’s construction on your route to work, that guy who was texting while driving just cut you off, the person in the left lane in front of you is going so slooooooowwww, oh wow — you just got cut off again. You can feel your blood pressure boiling… and you’re not even at the office yet.

Sound familiar? If we’re honest with ourselves, we can probably identify at least one less than savory moment experienced while driving, particularly while in morning rush hour traffic or treacherous weather conditions–and we’re not alone. A new study conducted online by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among nearly 4,000 U.S. workers shows that 58 percent of workers who drive to work experience road rage while traveling to and from the office, similar to 2006′s findings, when the study was last conducted.

Workers may have especially heavy traffic to contend with on their way to work — so much  so that one in ten workers (9 percent) who drive to work have gotten into a fight with another commuter. Getting so emotionally and physically charged is not only bad for one’s health, but can spill over into one’s mood, behavior, and ability to effectively interact with co-workers at the workplace.

Do commuting times affect level of rage?

The vast majority of workers (83 percent) said they typically drive to work. Of those workers, 12 percent said they took a job with a longer commute during or post-recession. While incidents of road rage are more common among those with lengthy commutes, workers with short commutes may also shift into emotion overdrive: 37 percent of workers with commutes of less than five minutes said they experience road rage from time to time, and same 54 percent of workers with commutes of less than ten minutes say the same.

The ol’ gender debate

Are women more rageful on the road? Well, it’s a close call. The survey found that 61 percent of women were apt to experience road rage, compared to 56 percent of men. In terms of age groups, workers ages 25 to 34 were the most likely to experience road at 68 percent, while workers 55 and older, at 47 percent, were the least likely to experience it.

Texting and driving

Nearly one in four workers (24 percent) who drive to work said they’ve been involved in an accident. While a variety of factors contribute to accidents, use of cell phones while driving is a dangerous decision. In fact, texting while driving has been found to increase the risk of experiencing a crash by 20 times.

Thirty percent of workers admitted they’ve texted while driving to and from work — and as we’ve talked about in the past, employers may also be unwittingly contributing to employees’ smartphone use while driving. Instead of encouraging employees’ multitasking ways on the road, send them these 10 tips for distraction-free driving.

Road relief

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, recognizes that road rage is a common phenomenon–but one that can be avoided (or at least lessened) with some simple steps:

“Road rage is most often associated with running late and far commutes. Planning ahead and taking advantage of flexible work arrangements can help alleviate stress levels and set a more positive vibe for the workday.”

Haefner recommends the following tips for employees — and their bosses:

1) Give yourself extra time. Set out clothes and prepare lunches the night before. Set your alarm 15 minutes early to allow for any minor setbacks that can happen in a busy household.
2) Request flexible work arrangements. See if you can start work at an off-peak time to avoid rush hour or explore whether telecommuting may be an option.
3) Try easy listening. Whether it means soothing music, books on tape or your favorite morning news program, listen to something that can help you forget the hour-long delay you just encountered.
4) Consider public transportation. Taking a bus or train can free you to finish up work, read or just relax.

 Do you have any tips to add to help employees enjoy a safer (and calmer) commute?

Amy McDonnell

About Amy McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the creative services manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.
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