What to do When Driving Gets Stressful

Although you might really love driving, there can be times when it seems more stressful than usual. If a driver is stressed, the risk of accident and injury goes up. Thankfully there are some things we can do to combat the stresses of modern-day roads and other events that crop up in life, making driving more challenging than usual.

Road Safety Matters

One of the most important things about getting behind the wheel of a car is ensuring you are safe on the roads. A bad night's sleep, feeling under the weather, and many other reasons lead to stress levels and a lack of concentration. Of course, we feel that we have to drive; not sleeping well is not a reason to miss work in the morning, or is it? Stress plays a role in life, and its impact is usually negative, no matter what profession you are in. Regardless of whether you drive a car or an HGV, the danger cannot be overlooked when it comes to the combination of driving and stress.

Stress Snowballs Health Issues

A single bad night is probably not going to be the end of the world as long as you realise you are feeling slightly more stressed than normal and take steps to ensure you are really paying attention behind the wheel. However, ongoing stress has been proven to cause significant issues giving rise to medical problems like headaches, high blood pressure and a lower immune system. It also makes you really short-tempered, which could exacerbate feelings of road rage and leave you unable to concentrate on the road ahead.

So, What Can You do to Help?

Stress is a difficult thing to control, but if you must get behind the wheel of a car while you are feeling stressed out, then here are some tips to help you cope better. Listen to something that will help you relax; your favourite music, podcast, or audiobook can all help to hope you feel less stressed. You can also download music specifically designed to help reduce anxiety and stress, for example, the sound of the ocean and birds singing, and some people actually say that white noise helps them calm down. Just be sure to switch to music once you are feeling calmer, as these sounds can make people sleepy.

Make sure you are hydrated, especially if you've had a bad night's sleep. Before you get in the car, have a drink of water, and if you have a long journey, stop at various rest points to hydrate further. Also, make sure you're not hungry, as this can cause your sugar levels to fluctuate, which also affects your mood. Finally, take regular breaks at a service station or somewhere where you can safely get out of the car, stretch and get some fresh air. Stretching helps to release tension from the muscles and this, in turn, relieves mental stress. If you think you are suffering from long-term stress and self-help techniques are not working, you should speak to your general practitioner.