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Tag: distracted driving

a woman smiles thoughtfully behind the wheel of a car
Your commute doesn’t have to cause you stress. Use these mindful tips to help you have a happy drive.

 

Let’s be honest. Central Texas’ worst drawback is the traffic. Whether you’re driving into San Antonio, Austin, or just trying to get through town in San Marcos, congestion is abound. That’s why it’s smart to have a plan to kick the stress for your mid-week traffic jam.

Not only will calming down help you cope with a frustrating traffic situation, but people who are stressed or angry tend to exhibit reckless driving habits. This is dangerous for you and the cars around you.

Here are a few ways you can de-stress behind the wheel and get some enjoyment out of an otherwise stressful commute.

1. Listen to a podcast or audiobook

Preferably, your listening material shouldn’t be high-energy or aggressive, as we can often channel into our behavior. Instead, listen to something that takes your mind (partly) off the traffic around you. Listening to engaging audio could help your mind stay alert while distancing yourself from the stress at hand.

2. Turn your phone off

Someone behind the wheel looks at a smartphone.
Turn your phone off while driving. Alerts can be stressful, especially while you’re paying attention to the road.

Using a phone while driving is illegal in some places, but ultimately your phone is a major stress machine. If you’re driving and hear several alerts going off, you’ll likely feel an urgency to check it. Turning it off doesn’t give you the option to feel this way.

3. Do some yoga

Yes, you read that right. Practice some yoga as you drive. Some stretches are best done when the car is fully stopped, while some, like practicing your breathing, can be done while driving. Start by sitting up straight. Roll your neck and stretch your muscles gently, and slowly. Focus on your body and you’ll soon feel calmer.

4. Let it go

Sometimes we let ourselves get carried away. Who hasn’t let a bit of road rage fester while you’re driving? But the key to staying calm isn’t not to feel that way. It’s to choose to let those feelings subside. Anger is a natural reaction when someone cuts you off, but to reject that feeling will help you stay calm and focused. Remember that you have no control over the actions of other drivers. The best you can do is observe and react as safely as you can.

5. Take a break

An interior shot of a cafe with communal seating and people sitting and working on computers in the background.
Stop by a cafe to break up your commute and take a breather. Getting off the road for a few minutes can lower stress.

If the traffic is making you feel anxious or too stressed, you can always pull over if you need to. Try stopping at a coffee shop or convenience store for a snack and a proper stretch. You might even hang around for a bit while traffic subsides.

No parent wants their teen to have an accident and wind up searching for an auto body shop. Driving for the first time can come with mixed emotions for any teen. They can be extremely excited, nervous, or overwhelmed. Parents can also feel similar emotions as they teach a teen safe driving.

There are a few ways to demonstrate good driver responsibility to your teen.

stress safe teen driving to prevent visit to auto body shop san antonio tx

Drive by example

AAA recently surveyed driving instructors. According to the survey, parents today do not prepare their teen drivers as well as parents did a decade ago. The instructors reported parents setting bad examples through their own driving behaviors. Research shows that young drivers will mimic the driving of parents and other family members.

Remember when your child gets closer to learning how to drive to be aware of how you operate a vehicle. Re-familiarize yourself with traffic and safety rules. Reduce behaviors you wouldn’t want your teen driver to do. This includes reducing distractions like cell phone use and obeying the speed limit.

Having a soon-to-be driver in your car can help you get back in the practice of responsible driving.

Practice, practice, practice

As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” The more experience that your teen can get behind the wheel will help your new driver respond better to a potential accident. It is better to expose them to different driving situations with you in the car next to them so they can learn from you can put your guidance into practice in the future.

Young drivers often do not get enough practice in inclimate weather, night driving, and heavy traffic – situations where they’re most likely to get into a crash.

Encouragement is important

Every parent knows that praise is helpful when their teen is doing the right thing, especially when they are driving safely behind the wheel. Positive reinforcement of good driving can be encouraging and help your teen build driving confidence.

But encouragement in other ways is also important. Have discussions with your teen to let him or her know it is a good thing to speak up if they don’t feel safe driving or to also speak up with their peers about unsafe driving. Sometimes discussing what to do or say in social situations can help your teen set boundaries (and a good example!) with other young drivers.

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