Relaxed and Safe Driving

Posted in DefaultTag by biofeedbackresources on June 6th, 2017

thumbnail.jpgThere are some sources of stress we can avoid and there are some that are much more difficult to avoid. If you drive then you face what can be very stressful on a regular basis. Most of us believe that we are excellent drivers. It’s those other "idiots" (or worse) who don’t know how to drive. Either they drive too fast, too slow or something else. It is fortunate for me that the drive to my office is only 5 minutes from my home, unless it is rush hour, yes we have a rush hour in tiny Ossining, NY. I should probably walk more often since that would only take 20 minutes. The excuse I usually make is that I have too much stuff to carry if I walk. That could be worked around with a little planning. Since the weather is nice now I will make a commitment to walk to work more often until winter. Many people have a commute of one hour or more one way. Multi-ply that by 5 days and you get at least ten hours of driving just to get to and from work. Besides our work commute there is driving to the store, running errands, going to din-ner and other entertainment, vacations, business trips and more. Those of you who are drivers may spend a lot of time in the car. Many of your cli-ents spend a lot of time in the car.

The last time that I took a defensive driving course I de-cided that I should comment on stress related to driving. Even though I have been driv-ing since I was sixteen years old I always learn something at these sessions. Here are some road rage statistics from the American Safety Council

  • 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving.
  •  37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm.
  •  Males under the age of 19 are the most likely to exhibit road rage. Half of drivers who are on the  receiving end of an aggressive behavior, such as horn honking, a rude gesture, or tailgating admit to respond-ing with aggressive behavior themselves.
  •  Over a seven year period, 218 murders and 12,610 inju-ries were attributed to road rage.

One scary statistic worth not-ing is:

2% of drivers admit to trying to run an aggressor off the road!

We are never the problem right?

Take this quiz that the American Safety Council offers:

Do you regularly drive over the speed limit, or try to "beat" red lights because you are in a hurry?

Do you tailgate or flash your headlights at a driver in front of you that you believe is driving too slowly?

Do you honk the horn often?

Do you ever use obscene ges-tures or otherwise communi-cate angrily at another driver?

Any yes answer is an indication that you are capable of road rage. Often road rage happens because the person was under stress unrelated to driving. Traffic and the actions of other drivers can add to stress, which then blows up when a driver thinks that someone else on the road has offended them whether intentional or not.

I do a lot of driving and I also find that it can be stressful. I have learned several things to help make the experience more relaxed and safe. I would like to share some of them with you. I hope they are help-ful for you and maybe you can share them with your clients.

  • Leave Early Allow extra time to get to your desti-nation. If you get there early you can use the extra time to relax, read, or listen to music before you get started with work, your meeting, or your appointment. You won’t have the extra pressure of the possibility of being late.
  • Let the person who cut you off go. You don’t really gain anything by "getting them back" You don’t lose anything by "letting them get away with it".
  • Have plenty of audio re-cordings of material that you want to learn, audio books, and music you love in your car. It helps pass the time when you’re stuck in traffic and can have a positive effect on your mood.
  • Check the muscle tension in your hands, shoulders, and neck. Release extra tension.
  • Practice diaphragmatic breathing at red lights and in traffic.
  • Remember the goal is get there safely.

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Thank you.