Since I’m lucky enough to be at home and not traveling for the holidays I thought I’d share a few tips to prevent road rage and crankiness for those of you stuck on the roadways this holiday season:
- Give yourself extra time. This one eludes many people, but is so effective it needs to be first in line. When you give yourself that extra 15 minutes to get started, you can take the time you need to gas up, stop at the bank and get on the road by your original time. You’ll start your drive on a positive note and feel more relaxed.
- Bring easy-to-eat snacks. When you’re on the road and trying to make good time to your destination you don’t want to stop and wander around a convenience store looking for something to eat. Plan ahead to bring things that aren’t too messy and are easy to hold. Maybe some apples, a banana, granola bars, etc. . . Don’t get chips, trail mix or peanuts that are easily dropped and hard to clean up.
- Bring music or audio books to listen to. Music you enjoy, a good CD of your favorite comedian, or an audio version of a book you’ve been wanting to read will make the miles fly by much quicker, and you’ll be less tempted to glance at the movie your spouse or children are watching.
- Drive during your peak time. Some people are naturally awake during the morning, others late in the evening. Pick the time that you feel most energized and awake to do the bulk of your driving. You’ll be more alert and focused and not as easily irritated by problems.
- Signal your intentions. With so many people on the road, be sure to use your turn signals, brakes, headlights and if necessary your horn. Too many people simply slide in and out of lanes without using their blinkers. If it’s raining, use your headlights so people know where you are in the dim light. You’ll be safer and so will everyone else on the road.
- Enjoy the journey. If you like quiet time to think while you drive be sure to supply everyone with their own set of headphones. They can use them to watch movies, listen to music or play games. It will keep them occupied and keep the noise level down. If you’d rather have an interactive trip, plan a few car games, or just spend the time catching up with each other. Plan the ride to suit your particular style and you’ll arrive in a positive frame of mind.
- Take stretch breaks. Many people often underestimate the re-energizing quality of a quick break. When you get gas, stop for food or a rest stop, don’t forget to stretch and take a few deep breaths. Even on the best drive tension builds up. Just moving around and working the kinks out can help you wake up and feel more comfortable on your drive.
Of course the best thing to bring on your trip is a healthy sense of humor. Problems will arise as they often do in the midst of hectic holiday travels. The most effective remedy is the ability to laugh off the quirks, slip-ups and malfunctions that inevitably occur in heavy traffic. Take it easy, plan ahead and you’ll arrive with your body and mind in good health. Drive safely everyone!