Top Tips To Be A Better Driver - Experts Roundup!
For many people, driving can be incredibly stressful.
Bad traffic, never ending commutes, incompetent drivers and crazy pedestrians can take a toll on your mental health.
So how do you deal with stress and manage to stay calm when on the road? How can you become a better driver? We asked top experts to share their opinion with us.
Are you ready? Namaste!
#1. Choose your audio wisely
- Kim McIntyre, joyfulbeing.com
#2. Laura Hall: Get a co-driver!
When I first drove abroad in Portugal it was very stressful when driving in Lisbon. Two of us alternated the driving and whoever wasn’t driving at the time acted as co-driver for reassurance and to act as an extra pair of eyes. This is also a good tactic for driving in any big city - having a co-driver just to help with letting you know which lane you should be in and give directions in advance (even if just reading off a satnav) can be very reassuring! If you’re driving alone, I would do as much research as you need so you know the general route to take, and find out if there are any tolls/charges so you’re not taken by surprise.
- Laura Hall, shiply.com
#3. Shift your perspective
Many times, when we are in our cars, we are the worst person we can be. That pickup truck just cut me off. They should go to jail! The Buick in front of me is driving way too slow. That's just criminal! Our stress builds as we find fault with every driver around us. By the time we get to our destination, we are ready to explode. In our driving seminars we suggest that you try to personalize the other driver. And maybe even have a little empathy. That driverin the pickup? He's rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital. The slow driver in the Buick? Why, she looks just like my great-aunt Betty. Bless her heart. Once you start giving a little grace, you find out you're not quite so stressed. And let's be honest, how often do WE do something that makes another driver mad? And stressed?
- Donna and Sharon, rightlane.org
#4. Plan your food before a drive
It sounds crazy, but what you eat can really affect your stress levels - which are bound to be high while driving in rush hour traffic. I remember when I took my driving test, my instructor advised me to eat porridge oats and a banana beforehand because they release energy slowly, thus decreasing anxiety and stress levels during a drive, and it worked.
Bananas are also a superfood and contain plenty of vitamin B, which helps to calm your nerves. So, when you’re rushing out to work or to visit your friend who lives an hour away, grab a banana and eat it before your drive. Avoid drinking coffee if you’re a nervous driver; it may perk you up, but it can also make you extremely jittery and shaky, both of which are a recipe for disaster if you’re trying to remain calm during a drive.
- Steve Pritchard, cuuver.com
#5. Keep moving
-Avoid using technology behind the wheel. It is important to avoid distractions so you can be present to your feelings and emotions.
-Play your favorite music to take the focus off of your stressor or trigger.
-Make sure to move. Tap your feet to the music, sing at the top of your lungs, dance in your seat. Moving releases built up tension in the body.
-Practice breathing. If we can engage in belly breathing we can actually signal the “rest and digest” reflex which calms our parasympathetic nervous system.
- Erica Hornthal, chicagodancetherapy.com
#6. Give yourself plenty of time
Time, it's the key to being a better driver.
- Noel Gaughan, intensivecourses.co.uk
#7. Be a driving pessimist!
Optimism is a wonderful thing in life in almost all areas but I think personally the best drivers are pessimists. The driver that always sees the potential danger in a situation is much more likely to avoid an accident. You're most at risk in areas that you know best, that’s when you start to make assumptions about the road ahead. Consider that around that next blind corner is going to be your local delivery van running late and maybe travelling too fast. Adjusting your road position and reducing your speed can make a potentially dangerous situation much safer.
- Matthew Collins, rapidedrivingschool.com