Going on a Family Road Trip This Summer? 3 Tips to Help You Relax and Enjoy the Drive
Traffic jams. Accidents. Construction. Delays. Rude drivers.
Driving to work is no fun. In fact, 14% of Americans have changed jobs just to shorten their commutes. Still, driving for a road trip can often be even worse. Sure, you may not be in a race against the clock to punch in on time, but you’re more eager than ever to arrive at your destination so your relaxing getaway can officially begin. Depending on when you’re traveling, traffic could be disastrous. But regardless of the conditions, it’s important to stay calm behind the wheel so you can make quick and rational decisions. If you’re one to get easily stressed out and overwhelmed when you’re driving, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here are just a few modern tips to help you keep your cool behind the wheel during your summer road trip.
About 3 million people are injured every year in car accidents on U.S. roads. Many of them are caused from people pushing their limits and driving when they’re too tired or are otherwise not in the right frame of mind. Whether you’ve been driving for two hours or 10 hours, it’s essential to pull over and take breaks to relax your body and mind and prevent fatigue. Americans say they spend an average of 87 minutes a day in their cars, but a median of 60 minutes. If your destination will take multiple days to get to, make sure you have a game plan for a good night’s sleep. Choose your hotels ahead of time, take turns driving, invest in an inflatable mattress for your backseat, or have some other course of action to evade sleepiness.
Clean/Organize Vehicle in Advance
This may seem like a given, but many road trippers skip this step because they’re running late or because their vehicle ‘isn’t that messy.’ But it’s not always about avoiding messiness, although that is, of course, an objective. It’s about keeping the materials you need close by to prevent distractions and stay as efficient as possible. For example, all of your paperwork and documents regarding your vacation information, e.g., directions, lodging information, and reservations, should be kept in their own area that’s easily accessible.
“If you’re really worried about losing something, get a zipping plastic case and put them in there. That way, you’ll always know where your paperwork is, rather than having to search under the seats when you should be 10 miles down the road,” writes Brittany Fichter.
In addition to your vacation necessities, you should also keep your driving necessities nearby: some water, any CDs you’re bringing along to enjoy some tunes, and a pair of sunglasses are just a few helpful items to have. People have worn sun-blocking eyewear for about 2,000 years, and the right pair of sunglasses can keep you safe by protecting your eyes from the sun and improving visibility. Don’t forget to bring along some healthy snacks as well to avoid having to rely on fast food the whole way.
Keep Comfy and Calm
Finally, whether you’re behind the wheel or taking a break in the passenger’s seat, make sure to wear comfortable clothes that you can truly relax in. Tight clothing should be avoided. And in order to help you keep calm when you’re driving, it helps to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is about more than just staying aware of your surroundings — it’s about truly being present in each and every moment.
“The more you notice the signs of tension and stress, the more you’ll be able to talk yourself down from them. If you feel yourself gripping the wheel too hard, or your mind wanders to dangerous thoughts, or you are clenching or shaking, etc., learn to get control over those emotions, and you’ll see a big improvement on your overall stress levels. Mindfulness is about paying attention and addressing each example of stress one by one until you’re more relaxed,” writes CalmClinic.
Long road trips aren’t always easy to drive through, especially in less-than-ideal conditions. But by staying calm and aware and keeping these tips in mind, you’ll reach your destination before you know it.