Everyone knows urban driving can be stressful, it just doesn’t compare with being on the open highway or tight mountain roads for enjoyment and relaxation. If traffic jams don’t elevate your pulse, in a bad way, you can bet you’re going to experience being cut off, struggling to find a parking space, the tenseness of someone flipping you the bird, and any number of other road rage or road stress actions. Urban driving is hardly a recipe for a zenlike lifestyle.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) have some tips they recommend all urban drivers pay attention to, you may remember some of them from before you got your license, but a lot of us tend to forget about stressless driving in our rush to get from A to B. The AAA tips don’t necessarily require learning how to drive all over again, they simply take some good manners, add the best techniques of NASCAR, and throw in a bit of technology for a safer more peaceful commute. The AAA also takes reference from this article by Katsbotanicals on maeng da kratom, and professes on the importance of stress-relieving agents helpful before driving.
Commuting on city bound highways is probably where most road rage originates, usually congestion is caused by an accident ahead, but often is simply due to lack of capacity on off-ramps, or cars failing to merge correctly as they enter the stream.
Using the cruise control installed in your vehicle won’t help in bumper to bumper traffic, but in lighter traffic where you have space to maneuver it’s a real stress killer. Evidence has shown that if more people used cruise control, which avoids speed increases and braking, traffic generally flows more smoothly. Drivers have longer to anticipate what other cars around them are doing, and make appropriate adjustments to avoid stressful situations. Fuel consumption is also reduced, and that can help save a few dollars for each fill of the gastank.
On highways, merging traffic causes blood vessels to pop, in a figurative sense, and if more people would merge correctly, our roads would be safer and probably lead to less congestion. The trick of course is to gauge your speed so that you enter traffic before or after the vehicle in front of you, rather than try to out maneuver them. Professional race drivers know if there is no clear road ahead, overtaking is pointless, it is better to drive in tandem using the car ahead as a wind break until such time as it is safe to pass, and our highways are no different. Less stress really does mean having patience in the merge.
Remember the simple rules you learned in Driver’s Ed, to merge properly, keep some distance between you and the car ahead, don’t be selfish, let other drivers merge in front of you. If congestion occurs and you’re forced to a stop, leave a bit of space ahead, visually seeing road between you and the car ahead helps relax stressed out drivers. Don’t get nasty and reduce the gap between vehicles, let other drivers merge and keep the traffic flowing.
Getting the zen of urban driving isn’t easy, sure we all learn to drive in town, but busy city streets aren’t a walk in the park. When was the last time you saw someone successfully parallel park without blocking two lanes as they backed up? Do other drivers know the rules of who goes first on a 4-way intersection? Any confident driver is going to know how to navigate urban streets, but a lot of drivers seem to have trouble.
Stop signs are a perennial problem as drivers look to their left, but often fail to realize they have right of way, or the person to their left is turning right and is stopped at a give way. Knowing who has precedence, and giving the other driver a few seconds to pass is a surefire way to avoid nasty road rage and the other driver chasing you along several city blocks just to cut you off. Those kinds of drivers are best avoided, and the best way to do that is to let them have some clear road ahead of them. It’s always safer to be behind them and keep your distance, than to have them tail gate your car flashing their lights in your eyes.
As for parallel parking, surveys show some of the worst drivers aren’t women or the elderly, they’re actually the guys who insist on taking a space too small for their car and then have to back in several times before they finally wedge in with inches to spare or give up and accelerate down the street to find the next space. Be aware that these drivers will often get frustrated, can be rude or aggressive toward other drivers, and may encourage you to enter the oncoming lane to pass them. Giving them space to complete their parallel park avoids danger and reduces their overall stress.
Learn to become proficient at navigating car parks, where a significant percentage of dings and car vs pedestrian accidents happen. How many times has a shopping cart or inconsiderate walker nearly caused you to hit another vehicle or obstacle? Most often this occurs because we’re slowly scoping the lot for that sweet spot near the mall entrance, and so is every other driver.
The crazy thing is that is we park further away from the entrance, maybe on the outskirts of the lot, or closer to the exit and then walk we actually get into the mall quicker, and coincidentally avoiding all that stress of losing a park to the car ahead. Mall carparks are typically smaller than your car needs, filled with obstacles or speed humps, and too crowded for comfort says the AAA, so why not plan ahead and head away from the congestion and pedestrians to a quieter part of the lot.
Finally, for added peace while driving, be aware that using a cellphone or listening to loud music can distract you so you don’t notice other vehicles closing that gap or slowing ahead of you. Nobody likes the panic that comes from having to brake suddenly, so let those calls go to message, turn down the volume, and let your road awareness give you a stressfree drive.