At some point in our lives, it’s likely that most of us would have experienced a stressful time when behind the wheel. Whether you’re stuck in traffic, having a road rage incident or you’re annoyed at the behaviour of other drivers, getting stressed behind the wheel is quite common but it won’t do you any good. You don’t want to increase your blood pressure when you’re on the road so, with that in mind, there are several things that you can do in order to minimise the levels of stress when you’re driving.
Here are our top tips on how you can stay stress-free when you’re on the road:
1. ASK YOURSELF DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO DRIVE
You may find that the more you drive, the more stressful it becomes. Perhaps before heading out in the car, ask yourself the question as to whether it’s really necessary that you need to drive. Maybe there are other alternatives to driving that could make you feel more relaxed such as taking the train or walking. In doing this, you could find that you’re really letting go of all that tension that driving causes you, especially if you’ve had some bad experiences in the past with bad traffic and other drivers on the road.
2. ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME FOR YOUR JOURNEY
Before setting off, it’s a good idea to always check traffic conditions and give yourself some extra time to get to your destination. By leaving early, your allowing yourself some extra time in case there are any delays, or you happen to get lost. You’ll also alleviate any pressure of arriving late. Try and plan your route beforehand as it’s always worth planning an alternative should your first route be blocked for whatever reason.
3. STAY ALERT
As tempting as it may be to get distracted by your phone, staying alert while you’re on the road is extremely important as it’s very easy for us all to make a mistake if we’re not concentrating when driving. Focus on the road and always anticipate what may lie ahead. Staying relaxed and calm at the wheel can be a real benefit to everyone.
4. PLAN AHEAD
We’re sure that you already do but do ensure that you’re always looking further down the road and planning as far ahead as possible. Things can happen pretty quickly when you’re on the road and road rage is often brought about when other drivers do unexpected things on the road ahead. So, if you’re looking far ahead, you’re able to be aware of any upcoming hazards and sudden surprises, which will help to keep your stress levels to a minimum.
5. SING IT OUT
Sometimes the best way to avoid stress while your driving is to turn up the volume and sing out loud your favourite song. Listening to music when you’re driving really can help with your mood and lower your stress levels. Find the optimum beat to help you relax and de-stress whether this is a bit of techno or Classic FM.
6. ADJUST YOUR POSTURE
By simply adjusting your position when you’re in the car can really help to limit your stress levels. If your slouching or you find yourself gripping the wheel too tightly, try leaning back and adjusting your car seat to make yourself more comfortable. Posture is everything, so why not try pulling your neck up and straightening your back as not only is this a great driving position, but your body will also thank you in the long run.
7. KEEP AWAY FROM AGGRESSIVE DRIVERS
It’s quite easy to pick up on other drivers’ behaviour, for example if they appear to be driving quite erratically or threateningly so it’s a good idea to try an maintain an extra distance with these other road users. Driving isn’t a competition, but some drivers just can’t help themselves by being aggressive and reckless. Should you encounter somebody who is rather uptight when you’re on the road, do your best to try and steer clear and avoid any confrontation as you don’t need this when you’re driving.
8. TAKE A BREAK
Tiredness can quickly take over if you’re on a long car journey or you’ve been sat in a queue of traffic for a while, so it’s a great idea to pull over and take a break where possible. Take your mind of the road and pull over every two hours if you can for a quick drink and something to eat as this will allow for you to stretch your legs and help you to stay alert. Driving while stressed can affect your ability to drive so taking a break when it’s safe to do so really is important.