The holiday season is upon us. There are parties to attend, kids are driving home for Thanksgiving, and somehow a risky behaving driver always ends up in front of you. Holiday driving can not only be frustrating, it is also one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road. More than 90% of long-distance holiday travel takes place by car in the U.S., and more than 46 million people are planning to drive this Thanksgiving. So, how can you avoid collisions, stay safe, and preserve your mental well-being and peace of mind?
Mind Over Matter
Focus on the here and now, not where you want to be. Mindfulness, and remaining alert to your surroundings, will help you keep cool when things get stressful on the road. We’re always worried about getting somewhere late or not making it to our destination. But if we focus instead on remaining calm and being in the present moment, it’s a lot easier to preserve our mental well-being on the road. There’s no way around it. If you drive during the holidays, you’re going to get stuck in traffic. You’re going to arrive late to appointments. And, you’re going to fall in line behind that teen driver, who looks like a deer caught in the headlights. Make sure you’re practicing mindfulness on the road. Deep breathing, focusing on the present, and de-cluttering your mind are some tricks to utilize when you’re stressed out.
Sure, this is important for teens and newer drivers, but even the most experienced drivers should plan accordingly and allocate additional time to get to their destinations when driving during the holidays. It’ll not only allow you to get to your destination on time, but it’s also going to help avoid accidents. If you’re stressed for time, you’re going to try to cut corners, or drive recklessly to get there. Allowing for an extra 20 minutes to 30 minutes can make a world of difference in getting to your destination on time (possibly early) and avoiding a major on-road collision in the process.
Prepare for the Worst
If your car gets broken into, you’re not going to be too thrilled about the rest of your holiday travels or road trip. So, plan accordingly. Consider installing new alarm systems in your vehicle. Or, using something as simple as the club on your steering wheel, to deter potential criminal activity. Preparing for threats and possible wrongdoers out there, is just as important as planning (time-wise) and preparing yourself for the roadblocks you’ll encounter. Know that there are threats, and know how to prevent situations you shouldn’t be getting into in the first place.
Driving during the holidays, in and of itself, is extremely stressful. Don’t make matters worse by not preparing, and not knowing what you should expect each time you step behind the wheel. The better prepared you are, the easier things will be when the hustle and bustle of holiday driving and travel arrives.