How To Avoid Being An Angry Tow Truck Driver
Admittedly, driving a tow truck can be a tough job. Impatient motorists who don’t like being behind big trucks can be rude and annoying. They can tailgate, swerve in and out of traffic, and make dangerous moves. And, be real jerks at times. Their irresponsible actions may cause you to want to react.
But the worst thing you can do, as a tow truck operator, is to respond negatively.
If you are wearing a uniform that bears your company’s name, you are an ambassador for that business. But are you representing the business the way the owners would want you to?
When you drive down the road, are you operating the company’s truck in a manner that endears their business to the community? Do you exude the type of behavior that’s expected from a representative of your company? Or are you cutting people off, flipping them the bird, and, quite frankly, emphasizing the ASS in ambassador?
The reality is there is nothing you can do that is going to make a positive difference in the minds or actions of an irate driver. You can no more control the blowing of the wind than you can control the irrational emotions of a soccer mom in a Honda Odyssey, jockeying for position on the freeway.
But there is something you can control—your emotions.
To some, that statement may be as foreign as customer service for Tech Support, but it’s true. You have complete control over your emotions. There’s an ancient Greek philosopher named Epictetus who once said: “It’s not what happens to you…but how you react to what happens that matters.” That is pretty solid advice from 2000 years ago.
But for this advice to mean anything to you, you must first believe that you have the ability to control your emotions.
Angry Tow Truck Driver Take Back Your Power
To most, the idea of controlling your emotions reeks of being cold and uncaring. And to others, it’s seen as a weakness, or submissive—as an unwillingness to act. But taking control over how you react to external stimuli is none of those things. Rather—it’s the ultimate sign of maturity. As the saying goes, “Meekness is not weakness. It’s power under control.”
And if you don’t control your power, it can become a huge problem. You see, when you’re out there reacting in kind, to the latest road-rage incident, you are building strong neural pathways in your brain that more easily facilitate negative responses in the future. And these responses can be triggered even when there is nothing to get excited about. It’s basic classical conditioning.
You Are Causing The Anger Yourself
In the early 1900’s Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov experimented with dogs and discovered that if he rang a bell at feeding time, the dogs would associate the bell with food and would begin to salivate. And that…ringing the bell even when it wasn’t feeding time would bring about the same response, salivation.
What this means is…when you react, over and over again, to whatever sets you off…like when an octogenarian impedes your progress or a sporty BMW races past to get in front of you, and you react negatively—you may be the one who is creating the road-rage scenario.
I know it sounds crazy, but if you don’t accept that you have the ability to control how you react and take steps to do so, you may be making matters worse.
But the greatest part about controlling your emotions is you’re giving yourself time to think.
When you understand that you have control over your emotions, you give yourself much-needed time. Time to decide…if responding to whatever just happened is necessary. For example, if someone makes a careless move in front of you…is it wiser to call them on it by getting on their bumper and berating them? Or would the correct response be to distance yourself from that person?
Of course, you would want to distance yourself from anyone making reckless moves. Making and sharing mistakes is hard to do, but if you can put your ego aside each time you are tempted to react, you’ll get better at it as you go.
Remember, when you’re out there on the roads, you’re doing much more than just towing. You’re a company representative…an ambassador. It’s not what happens that matters. What matters is how you choose to respond.