We’ve all been there – traffic jams, inconsiderate drivers, even driving in bad weather… traveling in a variety of road and congestion situations can make you feel stressed. Knowing how to handle these situations is important to managing your stress levels and helps ensure you arrive safely at your destination. Getting emotionally worked up rarely leaves us feeling any better off – it just passes on the frustration to another driver and spreads the road rage. Instead, consider having a game plan before you even get into your car, and know what you have to do to help avoid frustration once you’re in the thick of things.
Before You Drive
1. Allow Time for Delays
This may seem like a no-brainer, but failing to give yourself a bit of breathing room when traveling to work or social engagements can create unnecessary stress, so allow time for unexpected delays. If you do get stuck in traffic find alternative, less crowded routes – less traffic makes for a less stressful drive.
2. Get some rest
Driving while tired can be stressful – and dangerous. Getting a good night’s sleep before hitting the road is a good step towards staying calm and in charge on the road. It’s just as important to rest regularly along the way of your trip.
3. Sound mind, sound ride
Make your vehicle a setting that reminds you of one of the reasons why it’s awesome to drive – playing and hearing what you want. The right playlist or the right talk radio station can help fend off stress and frustration in a traffic jam. At a reasonable volume, this can help make the drive more pleasant and help you stay calm.
4. Decide your driving style
Make a conscious decision before you get underway about your style of driving; it’s always your choice. Perhaps decide in advance that you will allow those we are anxiously trying to move into your lane to do so, rather than becoming competitive. It will cost you almost no time and it feels good when you receive a friendly wave rather than feeling stressed when others are not courteous.
As You’re Driving
4. Drive smoothly
If burning fuel (and your money) is stressing you out as you sit idle in traffic, remember that smooth driving can help decrease fuel consumption. There’s no reason to rush five metres forward only to stop again. Accelerate and brake smoothly to in stop-start traffic help make your tank go further.
5. Give yourself some space
Tailgating is angerous for everyone involved and a recipe for potential accidents – keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one ahead. If you find yourself being tailgated, you might want to find a safe space to pull over and let the driver pass. Bad drivers are not worth your precious energy!
6. Drive and Let Drive
Don’t honk or stare, or use rude hand gestures. Take a few deep breaths. Though you can’t control traffic or other drivers, you can control your own behavior. Getting into a conflict is ultimately self-defeating, as it will not get you out of the traffic faster.