Unlike the big cities of the Northeast that grew along railroads, Florida was developed with the automobile in mind. But one thing no one had in mind was how quickly our state’s population would grow. The mass migration south has called for additional lanes, new highways , and an ever-growing number of cars on the road. All these factors add up to a behindthewheel experience that can really take the joy out of cruising past the palm trees. But stressful traffic doesn’t have to spoil the Sunshine State for you. With a few pointers on ways to reduce stress while driving, you can keep your cool on 441, A1A, Alligator Alley, or Florida’s Turnpike. One day, you may even thrive on I-95.
Appropriate Music or Audio
Most of us enjoy music when we drive, but we may not give thought to whether our favorite radio stations are necessarily the right fit for traffic jams. Maybe that morningzoo banter becomes unwanted company in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or perhaps you find yourself sitting through a song you can’t stand, hoping a favorite will come next. Keep rage-inducing talk radio out of the car for a calmer mood. Consider seeking out classical or ambient music that won’t strike the wrong chord in bad traffic. If music isn’t your thing, the dulcet tones of public radio news services can keep you calm and informed.
Give Yourself More Time
Up north, the old joke is that there are two seasons: winter and construction. In Florida, the sunshine and the road work are year-round. Consider construction delays and other surprises our roads may throw at you by giving yourself an extra ten to fifteen minutes to reach your destination. Rushing to compensate for getting stuck behind a car accident doesn’t just raise your heart rate, it raises the possibility of causing another accident.
Don’t Let the Bad Drivers Grind You Down
Even if you do everything right, that doesn’t guarantee your fellow drivers will do the same. Driving the speed limit can get you passed—and honked at—by someone who isn’t concerned with achieving a state of Zen-like calmness . You may find yourself behind out-of-towners who don’t know their way around, or drivers who feel that turn signals are only a loose recommendation. Our recommendation: don’t lose your cool and sink to their level. There are many ways to deal with these situations, including calling the proper authorities. Florida may be flat, but you can take the high road in spirit.
Exploring ways to reduce stress while driving doesn’t just pay dividends while you’re behind the wheel: the trickle-down effect of less stressful errands, commutes, and excursions will increase your quality of life throughout the day, making all the destinations of your driving a little bit better.
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