Happy New Year! The Auto Guy has a few New Year’s resolutions for you to work on related to reducing your stress while driving.
First of all, take time to eat before you head out in the morning. Driving on an empty stomach can make you stressed and grouchy before you even get in your vehicle. Believe me, that's the voice of experience.
Allow extra time to get to work. While delays will still be stressful, at least you’ve allowed a few extra minutes if you run into a traffic jam. Try to avoid rush hour traffic if possible. You might end up getting to work a little earlier than you need to, but you also might find that you are far less stressed as you start your workday.
Have you ever looked into public transportation? Believe it or not, it might be one of the biggest stress relievers available. Enjoy your coffee and relax while you ride the bus to work. And you won't need to mess with parking garages either.
Taking a different route to work might help, such as taking the interstate rather than city streets. Picking the least stressful route might not always be the shortest one, by the way. But cruising on the interstate might end up being faster and actually use less gas because you are not stopping and starting at every intersection.
Carpooling is another option. Even though you will have to take your turn and drive some of the days, you can relax on the other days and enjoy some good conversation along the way. Of course you need to make sure that you like the other people in the vehicle or your stress is just going to get worse!
Stress can make you drive more aggressively and that is going to cost you money. Don't stomp on the gas at a green light, then pound on the brakes at the next red light. Start smoothly and keep that engine turning at a low RPM. Then coast whenever you can, especially if traffic isn't moving fast anyway. That will save you a lot of money on gas and brakes!
Try listening to books on CDs. There are even self help books that can help you concentrate on feeling better while you are stuck in heavy traffic. Just remember to “snap out of it” when traffic starts to move again.
We all realize that a lot of our driving stress can be self induced. We sometimes allow ourselves to get too worked up in traffic and we need to settle ourselves back down by learning some relaxation techniques. But if you work at it, this year we can all have a lot less stress in traffic.