Driving is a great way to get from point A to point B, but it isn’t always a piece of cake.
If you live in a city, you might be able to get by using public transportation. If you live in the suburbs, driving may be your only option.
You’d be surprised how many people can have anxiety related to getting behind a wheel.
If you feel like driving stresses you out more than the average person, follow these tips:
1. Avoid Gridlock
The more time you spend on the road, the more stressful driving becomes. Avoiding gridlock and bad weather will help keep your stress levels low.
Plan your route before you leave. Use Google Maps to determine where traffic is heavy and how long it will take to get there when taking alternative routes.
If possible, avoid toll roads. They can be expensive and going through tolls can be stressful when they are busy.
If possible, avoid freeways. They may have high-speed limits, but are notorious for being busy and driving that fast could stress you out even more.
2. Set Your Mood With Music
Music can help you relax, stay awake, avoid road rage, and focus. If you’re not a fan of the radio, it’s time to start making playlists for your commute.
Find songs that inspire emotion and use them as an outlet for your feelings while driving.
Spotify has some awesome playlists to help you stay chill on a stressful drive.
3. Don’t Try To Be Perfect
You will make mistakes, and if you don’t accept that, you will be stressed out all the time.
The same goes for others on the road. You need to let things slide and try not to take them personally. Your fellow drivers are only human.
With that being said, if you are hit and injured by another driver, you should get some professional help like what’s offered here.
4. Take the Scenic Route
If you’re stressed out by driving, consider taking the back roads instead of the main highway. You’ll be able to enjoy a more rural or suburban setting and drive at a slower pace with fewer cars on the road.
If there’s a roundabout near your house or work, try using it instead of turning at an intersection with stop lights every few feet. This can help keep stress levels low with a nice smooth ride.
5. Be Aware of Your Anxiety and Plan For It
The more aware you are of your anxiety and the situations that cause it, the better you can plan to manage it.
If you know that driving in the rain makes you anxious and it’s pouring outside, plan some stress relieving tactics ahead of time.
It’s always better to have a trick in your back pocket when things get hard to handle.
6. Drive With a Friend
Get a friend to drive with you. When the pressure is on, it can be helpful to have someone else in the car who you can talk to and get your mind off of what’s stressing you out.
Having someone in the car might make things more interesting and can also help spot potential dangers. Two sets of eyes and ears are always better than one.
You could even plan out some activities for long drives to help pass those long stretches between stops.
It is always comforting knowing that you have someone to help out in an emergency, or just help to calm your nerves if you get anxious.
7. If All Else Fails, Practice Makes Perfect
You can practice in the safest way possible—in a parking lot or on a quiet street. You can move to busier roads and intersections as you get more comfortable.
Practice parallel parking. This is one of the most difficult maneuvers for new drivers, but it’s also one of the most important. Once you have mastered this skill, it will make every other kind of parking easier and stress-free.
You can also get better at putting stress relieving tactics to work while you are driving.
Before driving, take a moment to breathe deeply and relax your shoulders. A mantra can help get you in the right mindset to face a busy road.
When driving gets stressful, while sitting at a stop light or waiting in line at an intersection, take deep breaths until your heart rate goes back down to normal.
If you’re starting to feel the stress of driving, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be perfect.
The most important thing is to keep yourself and others safe on the road. That means being aware of your anxiety level and planning accordingly.