When someone accelerates in a situation where they should stop (like at a stop sign), calamity is soon to follow.
This is true, whether for business, relationship, investments, and yes, even driving.
The question is, when the accident occurs, how cool-headed are you? Because you can make things a whole lot worse by unhelpfully engaging your emotions in places where you need a low heart rate.
While this is not always the case, I was very calm when the lady ran right through her stop sign and, though I slammed on my brakes, due to rain and speed, we spun into her anyway. My impact with her doughnutted her vehicle into another person, who was dutifully stopped at his stop sign.
All I can say is thank you for seatbelts, relatively low speed limits (30 mph), and a break in the rain. I'm thanking God that no one was injured (except the poor cars. I think one might have been pretty much totaled).
The woman spoke no English and my daughter (who is home for Spring Break) spoke 3-years-worth-of-learned-3-years-ago-gotten-quite-rusty-Spanish. So we verbally limped along until the police arrived.
I was surprised: When you are not agitated, you can have compassion for all parties involved, not just the inoccent ones. You can remember more accurately, and cross your T's and dot your i's. You can smile and give those who are frightened hugs and say, "It's okay, accidents happen."
Emotional Steadiness is not a fluke. It is something you practice. In all the places where you don't really need it. As in, when someone brings you a meal that is ill prepared. When someone doesn't let you merge in traffic. When your spouse says something rude to you. When a co-worker doesn't come through with their end of the job. When your kids are making messes or whining.
It's not that you let yourself be walked on; that is not what I am saying. But you work to remedy the situation with grace and dignity and respect for the other person, whether they deserve it or not. All this time, you are training your emotions to not pull on the leash. To not run away with you. To walk calmly beside you and let you be their master.
Then, in a time when all would expect you to be upset … voila. Serenity now.
I tell my kids all the time, "What you practice is what you become."
I guess I have been practicing, and how encouraging, to see when the chips were down, I liked the me that showed up. We'll see how that goes when I start dealing with the insurance companies! : )