How do you deal with stress on the road?

How do you deal with stress on the road?
It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Stress is ubiquitous among experienced drivers and amateurs alike. It can effectively impede driving and distract you. How to deal with this problem?

Stress on the road is a common problem

Although many people say that there is nothing more pleasant and relaxing than driving a car, there will be those for whom it will be a real torment. Fear of driving affects a very large number of people, although a large number of them do not admit it and effectively hide it. The fear of driving a car has even got its own name – amascophobia.

Overcoming the fear is a long process, requiring systematic work and commitment. Willingness and common sense are most important. In the case of some people it may even be necessary to visit a specialist. This should not be discouraging – the help of a psychologist is an effective form of combating stress and anxiety.

There are many reasons for stress on the road. Traffic jams, accidents, aggressive driving by other drivers… These can all make some people feel insecure and uncomfortable behind the wheel. Fortunately, there are proven ways to deal with stress while driving. With just a few simple steps, you’re sure to feel better.

Step One: Recognize Your Enemy

The first step in the fight against stress should be to identify the factor that is impairing your concentration and driving comfort. This is a very important part of the “therapy”, because we can’t fight with air. Depending on the nature of the person, different factors can affect a driver’s bad mood. Some may be frightened by fast driving on a freeway, while others by junctions in the middle of a city. Numerous studies clearly indicate that among the main causes of stress are the fear of:

  • driving at high speeds,
  • losing control of the vehicle due to fainting, for example,
  • driving at night,
  • standing in traffic,
  • other drivers,
  • driving on unfamiliar roads,
  • trucks and lorries,
  • driving in the rain.

Driving stress does not always show up right away. Here are some examples of such situations.

  • Those who showed above-average skills during the driving course after passing the driving test may feel anxious about traveling alone and inexperience.
  • Complicated traffic circles and intersections can cause stress for someone who usually drives on straight, familiar roads
  • A car accident, the loss of a loved one, or hitting a pedestrian are all traumatic events after which even the most seasoned driver will find it difficult to return to driving.

Step Two – Identify the Impact of Stress on Your Behavior

The next step is to consider how our behavior changes when we are stressed. Knowing more about our own reactions will allow us to quickly identify the most problematic moments, which will help us combat the unpleasant feelings associated with driving.

Among the most common symptoms of stress are heart palpitations, shortness of breath, increased sweating, trembling hands, and a change in behavior. When we are nervous, our movements are more abrupt and less precise. If we are under pressure from other drivers, for example, we can make a number of serious mistakes, often directly threatening our lives.

Stress can also cause distraction and, in the worst cases, fainting. All of these situations are very dangerous and sometimes lead to collisions and accidents. If you notice such symptoms in yourself, the wisest solution is to pull over to the side of the road and try to calm down

Step three: systematic training

In order to become accustomed to driving in different conditions, regular training is very important. It’s extremely important that your attempts to cope with stress don’t add to your anxiety. Therefore, avoid situations that will make you jump into deep water. The whole process should take place slowly and, above all, systematically.

If we are afraid of other drivers, let’s start by moving on roads with low traffic volume. If you are afraid of driving at night, try your hand at it, starting with twilight. Take it one step at a time.

Step four: change your mindset

As cliché as it may sound, a positive attitude is the key to success. Treat learning to cope with stress as a challenge and a new experience. Try not to think about things that make you feel bad, and reward yourself for every small success with something enjoyable. Such an approach will properly motivate us and encourage us to continue working. Let’s also try to accept what we can’t change. The effects will be visible after the first attempts!

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