Driving is a pleasure for many, but like everything, not all people love to be behind the wheel, although sometimes it becomes a necessity. The more you drive, the more natural it becomes for you, but you may not have the need to drive every day and when you have to drive you get nervous. Do not worry because it is something normal that happens on many occasions.

Stress can play a detrimental role in our lives, even while driving. When driving under stress, strong emotions such as worry, anger and despair can arise and cause illogical reactions that put you, and anyone else in the car with you, at risk. To avoid stress while driving, here are some tips to reduce driving anxiety.

Take a deep breath

If you feel stressed while driving, take a deep breath .  Diaphragmatic breathing with inhalation and exhalation can be a powerful relaxation technique to calm the mind and body. Breathe deeply through your nose, making sure the diaphragm can inflate with plenty of air, which helps the lungs stretch. 

Do this breathing technique 5 to 10 times in a row to relax and reduce anxiety.  You can also create your own meditation mix filled with soothing sounds and breathing exercises that you can have in the car anytime you feel overwhelmed.

Adjust the position at the wheel

Simply adjusting your position in the car and keeping your body relaxed can help limit stress. If you find yourself gripping the steering wheel too tightly, loosen your hands and fingers. If you’re hunched over the steering wheel, try leaning back or adjusting the car seat for more comfort. Roll your shoulders up and down and keep your jaw open. When you stop at a red light, stretch your arms in the air to relive any possible muscle tension.

Listen to music

Sometimes when you’re driving under stress, a little music can go a long way. Listening to music is known to lift your mood, decrease stress, and calm the body. So, turn on the radio or listen to your favorite playlist to relax.

Leave an extra space between cars

If you feel stressed while driving, leave extra space between your car and other drivers around you. This will help alleviate the fear of collision and you can be more prepared in case you have to react to an unexpected event such as a braking with the car in front.

If you are on the road, leave room to feel safer between cars . If you’re driving at night or in bad weather, increase the amount of space to give yourself more time to stop if necessary.

Allow extra time

If you feel stressed before driving, allow yourself some extra time to travel.  If you’re traveling to a new destination, give yourself extra time in case you get lost. Try to plan your route in advance to avoid traffic or construction delays.

Stop in case you need to

Lastly, if you’re driving under stress and feeling really bad, pull away when it’s safe to do so. Stress is most likely to affect your driving skills, so it’s best to relax cautiously and take a break to calm down.  Negative emotions can be distracting when driving. By stopping, you can give yourself a chance to unwind and recover physically and mentally.

When you least expect it, you’ll find that driving is easier than it sounds, as long as you put your five senses on the road. You always have to be aware of what you are doing behind the wheel, but above all, keep your senses on the other drivers who accompany you on the road.

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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