Dealing with Stressful Driving Situations

Jan 24, 2020 | Firm News

Increased traffic on local roads can make routine commutes a chore for drivers in the Sarasota area. When drivers become stressed out, their reactions are linked to higher aggression which poses a higher risk for collisions. Experts recommend that drivers use the tips below to stay calm during common driving hassles.

Road Construction

Winding past potholes and orange safety cones can slow your commute down and lead to anxiety behind the wheel. The easiest way to deal with construction-related stress is to rely on common sense. It is important to check traffic patterns and routinely build in extra time in your commute for unexpected detours due to road construction. It is not always advisable to avoid your route altogether, however, as going a different way may turn into a longer ordeal and can actually increase your anxiety.

Backseat Drivers

Receiving unwanted advice from a passenger can raise stress levels. The safest way to handle a backseat driver is to not respond. By failing to respond, it avoids a stressful exchange. It can be helpful to use slow-breathing techniques to lower elevated heart rates and blood pressure. Experts recommend breathing in for seven seconds, holding for four, and then exhaling for seven seconds.

Merging at Rush Hour

Anxiety as you enter the highway is normal, especially during rush hour traffic. Remain cautious during the merge and treat it as a part of the routine drive. To keep anxiety levels lower, practice merging onto the highway at a time when there are fewer cars on the road. This can help you build your confidence during peak traffic times.

You’ve Lost Your Way

Don’t lash out if you’ve become lost. Simply pull over and regain focus. Diverting your attention from the situation helps you regain control. While you are pulled over, have your GPS recalculate your route or ask someone for directions. Do a few stretches and calm yourself completely before getting back on the road.

Dealing with a Buzzing Cell Phone

If a cell phone is ringing or beeping while you are behind the wheel, the temptation to take your eyes off the road will likely increase. Not being able to check your phone could also lead to increased stress. Try apps that block calls and texts for the duration of your drive. Or, put your phone on silent until you arrive at your destination.

You’re Stuck at a Freight Train Crossing

Trains can sometimes take upwards of 10 minutes or more to pass through an intersection. Instead of dwelling on the lost time, queue up a favorite song or work through a problem. Focusing on a specific activity can provide a sense of productivity during an otherwise irritable time.

The more you practice staying calm during stressful commutes, the more safety aware you will become. Wittmer|Linehan understands how stressful our local roads can be. The situation can become more stressful if you or a loved one are involved in an automobile accident and are attempting to recover losses and damages. Let our team of experienced attorneys help you navigate the complex legal issues relating to your car accident.