At first, driving can seem intimidating. There seems to be an infinite number of things to worry about: the environment, weather, other drivers, pedestrians, and following traffic rules – just to name a few. But despite the fact, all these factors will only negatively impact your driving if you allow them to do so – because stress should be the last thing you feel when you drive! These are six ways to make your drive less stressful:
1. Cheaply organize your car
Keeping your car organized doesn’t have to be expensive. Surprisingly, you can find organization accessories at the local dollar store that are just as good as its name brand competitor. Furthermore, you can repurpose objects you may already own for an alternative purpose, such as using a plastic bag for a trashcan or utilizing a shower caddy to store take-out food and prevent it from unexpectedly spilling on the seat. Without a doubt, save yourself some extra cash by cheaply organizing your car!
2. Negate the worry of breakdowns
In order to negate the worry of your car breaking down, you must get it routinely maintained and inspected. This includes: changing the oil every few months, replacing the battery if necessary, regularly checking brake pads, ensuring proper tire pressure, and making sure brake lights, windshield wipers, and turn signals are properly working. As a result of taking care of your vehicle, you will relieve some driver’s anxiety knowing it will not unexpectedly fail you. Furthermore, routine maintenance of a car can prolong its life expectancy and keep it running like brand new for extended periods of time.
3. Be a defensive driver
No matter how frustrated or stressed you are during a commute, succumbing to road rage or aggression is never acceptable. By doing so, you not only put yourself at danger for getting into an accident, but you also become a hazard to other drivers. While you cannot control other people or the environment, you can take responsibility for your attitude and driving techniques. The best course of action is to always be a defensive driver, meaning you drive according to the following principles: respecting the rules of the road, staying aware and alert of the surrounding environment, remaining calm even during unexpected situations, and maintaining a safe distance between you and other drivers.
4. Know additional routes before traveling
Sometimes, we end up getting off the wrong exit and find ourselves lost in an unknown area. What would make the situation worse is having our GPS or cell phone run out of battery. Therefore, keeping a paper map of the area handy in the glove compartment ensures you always have access to a source that can lead you back home. An alternative scenario that can utilize the knowledge of additional routes is being aware of multiple ways to get to your destination without taking tolls and freeways. Occasionally, the backstreets and “long-way” are much more preferable to take than the jam-packed direct route during rush hour, which can save you the stress of facing traffic head-on or just give you change of scenery.
5. Establish a calm environment before and during driving
Once the car’s engine roars to life, don’t immediately drive off! Take a moment to establish a calm environment for yourself. This can include putting on calm music or a podcast, cooling off from the air conditioner, and taking some slow deep breaths as the car warms up. You never want to drive with an emotional or anxious state of mind. Doing so may distract you and can result in directing your focus towards internal emotions as opposed to the road ahead. Additionally, during the scenario of coming face to face with an aggressive driver, stay calm at the wheel. Ignore the driver or separate yourself from them. Allowing others to fuel your already present aggravation will only make the situation worse. Plus, there’s no need waste unnecessary time and energy over a situation or individual that has no significant impact on your life.
6. Keep time on your side
Have a place to be? Leave earlier than necessary to remove the anxiety of feeling rushed.
Driving while trying to beat a time constraint will cause you to act a little more recklessly like speeding up in traffic or forgetting to use your blinker when changing lanes. Giving yourself a buffer of time prevents this situation from occurring while also keeping you punctual. Otherwise, accept the fact that if you leave late, you will be late!
Evidently, while the idea of driving may stir some anxiety at first, you always have the ability to make commuting less stressful. As long as you take in your car for routine maintenance, practice safe driving techniques, and keep a good attitude on the road, you will undeniably make driving a much safer and calmer experience.