7 ways to lower your on-the-road commuting stress

By 09.20.13
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how to lower your commuting stress

Angry driver image by Shutterstock

Public transportation commuters will all have you believe that their commute is the worst. And that’s not hard to imagine since they have to deal with high prices, inconvenient delays and worst of all: other people. But clogged roads, fatigue, and rising gas prices make a driver’s commute far worse, doesn’t it? Drivers can’t even surf the Internet or lose themselves in a good book. Either way, commuting sucks, but if you’re a driver who commutes every day or you just want to make that weekend car trip a little easier on you, here are some tips for making your drive easier.


Eyes image by Shutterstock

Making eye contact with another driver works really well if you need to get into another lane or perform the dreaded merge. This tiny human element allows the other driver to see that you’re a person, not just a faceless car who wants to impinge upon their territory.


Couple waving image by Shutterstock

It sounds counterintuitive, but if you're speeding and you wave to them, it’s a good possibility that they'll acknowledge it as you saying, in essence, "Sorry, I'll slow it down," without it being an admission of actual guilt. Another possibility is that you’re just a friendly law-abiding citizen who wants to acknowledge them and show respect by saying, "Hi, officer, nice to see you." (Which also could keep them from wanting to pull you over if you are speeding.)

man driving

Man in car image by Shutterstock

Don’t pay attention to the time because it just doesn’t make a difference. Instead of being OCD about each minute that goes by, focus on getting to your destination or whatever political discussion happens to be currently angering you on the radio.

phone car

Man holding phone image by Shutterstock

Are you stuck in deadlocked traffic? Mount (or hold) your portable video device on your steering wheel and watch a video. Hint: Stop watching the video when traffic starts moving.


GPS image by Shutterstock

Don’t just do whatever your GPS tells you to; find alternate routes that help you get to your destination more easily. Even if you shave a seemingly insignificant four minutes off your commute, that’ll add up to a very significant 40 minutes per week.

excited driver

Excited driver image by Shutterstock

Get excited. Not about driving, but about what you do while driving. Put an old friend or a family member on speakerphone and catch up with them, or listen to your favorite podcast or queue up some great music.

middle finger

Middle finger image by Shutterstock

Giving people the finger doesn’t make them reflect and say, “hey, maybe they’re right and I am an asshole” – it just makes them want to run you off the road, or give you the finger back. And much, much harder. Instead, point at them a la Family Guy's evil monkey or give them a cartoonishly enthusiastic thumbs up. They'll know they did something wrong and rather that just getting angry, they'll be deeply confused and the memory will stick with them. And you’ll still feel good about it. So very good. Mission accomplished.

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