If your daily commute requires driving on a busy interstate or even navigating unfamiliar streets, your experiences behind the wheel may be less than positive or relaxing. Driving requires focus, and it’s often beneficial to be calm and collected, but with all the roadway hazards, from traffic congestion to reckless drivers, it may be one of the biggest challenges of your day.
A positive driving experience not only keeps you from feeling anxious and stressed, but it can also reduce your risk of being involved in an accident.
Do you dread the thought of getting behind the wheel every day or do you attempt to do everything you can to avoid driving? Here are some tips to make your driving experience more focused and positive:
1. Start your day off right.
If you have a rough start to your morning, it can set the tone for the rest of the day, including your commute. Rather than rushing around in the morning, ironing clothes, making lunches for the family, or helping out the kids with their homework at the last minute, take a little time at night to prepare for the morning. If you spend an extra half hour at night prepping for the morning rush in your household, you are giving yourself some much needed quiet time before your commute. Enjoy the morning by listening to your favorite music, do some meditation or yoga exercises, and sip on a warm cup of tea. Avoid electronics or too much stimulation, your day is full of urgency, ignore it for now.
In addition to prepping the night before, make sure you get enough sleep. Getting less than the recommended amount of sleep can leave you feeling fatigued, a foggy mind, and more dangerous behind the wheel.
2. Ditch distractions.
Distractions while driving can not only interfere with your focus, but can also sour a perfectly good morning drive. Unless you have an urgent phone call to make or an email to answer, wait to take care of these tasks once you arrive at your destination. If you have a hard time separating yourself from your smartphone, put it out of reach (in the trunk of your car if you need to), and enjoy the silence. If you decide to listen to music, keep in mind that it can be distracting, so be mindful of when you start to lose focus and shut out any and all distractions.
3. Share the ride.
Some people enjoy commuting alone, taking the opportunity to reflect and have some quiet time, but others could benefit from carpooling. To make your driving experience more positive, and even a bit fun, offer to give a coworker a ride to work. Choose a work buddy who you enjoy spending time with, and make it a rule to not talk about workplace drama or politics. It’s important to remember that although a passenger can make the ride more enjoyable, they can also be a distraction so choose someone who will know when it’s time to stop talking and allow you to pay close attention to the road.
4. Change your attitude; enjoy the ride.
Often, the experience you have has a lot to do with your attitude. If you decide that driving is one of your least favorite things to do each day, you may never allow yourself to enjoy the experience. While you are driving, take a moment to enjoy the things around you, such as the sunrise or the fresh air blowing through the car windows. Practice smiling at fellow motorists rather than giving them an angry gesture or glare; remember, you’re all in this together. Additionally, consider exploring an alternate route. It may not be as direct, and it may take a little more time, but it may be less congested so you can discover an area you’ve never seen before.
How do you make driving a positive experience? Tell us in the comments!
Donna Fitzgerald is an avid reader and writer, who enjoys living along the coast of North Carolina. Entertained by her loving daughters, Donna stays active within her neighborhood and is passionate about health and family wellness. In her free time, you can find Donna curled up reading her favorite novel or writing in her journal.