April 11, 2016

How To Reduce Stress While Driving

It's National Stress Awareness Day - We've got some tips on reducing stress

In the modern world, stress feels all but inescapable. A non-profit health education organization called The Health Resource Network (HRN) has designated April as Stress Awareness Month, a thirty-day period in which health experts across the country work to inform the public about the dangers of stress and coping strategies to help mitigate it. HRN also sponsors April 16th as National Stress Awareness Day (conveniently scheduled one day after the end of tax season).

If you live or work in a traffic-congested city, simply getting behind the wheel is probably enough to raise your cortisol levels. Driving can be an incredibly stressful activity, especially when you're dealing with stop-and-go highway traffic or navigating chaotic city streets. And because you're trapped in a confined space, that pent-up stress can often turn into full-on road rage, which can put you and other drivers at risk. Here are some key tips to help you manage stress while driving. 

Allow yourself extra time. It's easier said than done, but leaving early for your morning commute can save you stress and panic down the line when you hit traffic. This is also an important thing to keep in mind when you're traveling to an important life event, such as a job interview. By making sure you have plenty of time to get to your destination, you can take a whole lot of stress out of the equation entirely.

Make sure you know where you're going. Getting lost can send your stress levels through the roof. Navigation apps on your smartphone can help you find your way again, but you really don't want to be fiddling with your phone in traffic. Figure out your route beforehand, whether you do it the old-fashioned way by memorizing it, or by setting up a voice-enabled GPS.

Don't waste your energy being mad at bad drivers. Every now and then you'll encounter a driver who tests your patience. Whether they're just plain unskilled or they're deliberately being rude, it's not worth engaging. Just change lanes and let them pass.

Leave plenty of breathing room in stop-and-go traffic. Remember: staying alive is more important than getting to your destination on time. Try to relax, and leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you. Allow other cars to merge. You really won't save that much time by weaving in and out of traffic, and you'll annoy all the safe, responsible drivers around you.

Stay alert, but learn to recognize tension. It's important to be aware of your surroundings, but you should also watch out for mounting stress levels. If you find yourself white-knuckling the steering wheel and grinding your teeth, lean back from the wheel in a more relaxed position and take some deep, calming breaths—or pull over and take a break.

Many individuals and local authorities have already jumped on the opportunity to remind users to drive safely. There are even signs popping up on highways to encourage safer driving.

Luckily, there are tools out there to help the tech-obsessed (or the poke-obsessed) improve their driving. One of our favorites is an app called TrueMotion Family! The app analyzes your driving in order to provide you with a score - and insights as to how you drive. It's perfect for parents who want to monitor their teen drivers. The app gives parents the power to see where their kids drive, and produces a 'report card' on their driving in addition to an assessment of whether they were driving distracted (using their cell phone). Plus, families have access to roadside assistance on-demand from right within the TrueMotion app.

I don’t remember Ash, Misty, or Brock driving cars in their quest to be the very best, like no one ever was. And there aren’t vehicles any in PokemonGO. At Urgent.ly, we love the game and just like you, we’re prepared to travel across the land searching far and wide to catch 'em all, but we encourage you to put safety first in your travels! Remember that the power of Pokemon is awesome in augmented reality but automobiles are a powerful tool meant for use in the real world and require optimum focus to operate safely. In a world we must defend, you can start by driving safely, and catch and train ‘em all when you’re not operating a vehicle.

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