We are human. We all struggle, experience a range of emotions, have our good and bad days and are affected and influenced by the world around us.
That’s just how life is, and we can choose to respond to it in a manner that makes our lives as stress-free as possible.
But there is no risk involved if we choose option A or option B while we are comfortably seated on the couch at home.
On the other hand, traveling at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour can take our lives if we become absent-minded or nervous.
For this reason, psychology is increasingly focusing on analyzing how we mentally prepare ourselves to drive.
When we travel by car or any other mode of transportation, our primary goal is to arrive at our destination without any delays.
Road safety is a priority not only for drivers but also for public administrations.
These administrations work to raise awareness among drivers who take risky attitudes without being aware that they are doing so.
For this reason, it is essential to be in good physical and mental health before embarking on any journey.
When I was talking to people I knew, I was surprised to find out that there were so many instances of people dozing off behind the wheel.
And the same goes for everything else. It will be necessary for us to make driving an activity in and of itself rather than merely a means to an end if we want to arrive at our destination.
Second, connected to the previous idea, we drive around in the car for fun and to have a good time.
Many motorists are concerned that once vehicles become fully automated, they won’t be able to enjoy the thrill of taking corners and passing slower cars as they once did.
And being stress-free, not being afraid, and avoiding getting hurt in an accident are all necessary components of having a good time. The majority of our time is spent confined within a vehicle.
And now is the time to stop thinking of this time as wasted. Now is the time to get yourself mentally ready to experience it to the fullest.
Let’s begin by emphasizing that we cannot get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
There is a correlation between alcohol consumption and 30–50% of all accidents: not only does it cause us to lose control of our faculties, but it is also a depressant drug, which causes us to fall asleep.
Opiates and certain medications have the same physiological effect.
On the other hand, stimulant drugs like cocaine and taurine, both of which are legal but are still considered drugs despite their legal status.
These drugs remove the feeling that there is a risk involved. Finally, hallucinogenic drugs such as marijuana, which is widely used, present a clear and present danger.
Before getting in the car, we cannot take anything with us.
We don’t get the amount or quality of sleep that we need for various reasons, including anxiety and insomnia, watching the newest series on Netflix, wanting to party, or living a significant distance from our place of employment.
We should look for strategies that will allow us to wake up with our batteries charged: we can go to a psychologist, or we can make our own schedules more relaxed.
The point is that being sleepy will only make us feel more exhausted throughout the day, and it will also increase the likelihood that we will get into an accident while driving, either because we will nod off while driving or because we won’t be able to react quickly enough because we won’t have enough energy.
We ought to have a lot of energy before going on a lengthy journey.
In addition, if we undertake this lengthy journey, we will be required to take a break every two hours to refresh ourselves.
Every motorist knows when they need a break, but it is best to limit the time spent behind the wheel if possible.
We pause for a short while, use this opportunity to use the restroom, stretch our legs, and get something to drink.
The break allows us to reflect on the journey thus far and heighten our anticipation of the next destination or the prospect of returning home.
We should take turns driving with other adults because safety increases.
As the work season progresses (from vacation to vacation), those who have established routines are more likely to become stressed while behind the wheel.
When we find ourselves in a situation that irritates us, such as being passed by another vehicle or stuck in traffic, we should take some time to consider whether or not we can find ways to relax.
Two strategies that will significantly assist us are practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga or visualizing the challenges ahead of us and the solutions we have devised for overcoming them.
It is also recommended that drivers avoid driving while listening to loud music.
It is even better to switch to the radio or a podcast that the driver enjoys listening to instead. We will have a more relaxed ride as a result.
It should come as no surprise that there are factors that are not under our control; for example, being stuck in traffic can be an extremely stressful experience.
It has the potential to cause rapid breathing, an elevated heart rate, increased sweating, a dry mouth, and increased muscle tension.
We will not be able to avoid this circumstance the first time it occurs; however, we will be able to prevent it the subsequent times by planning the journey with additional time, refraining from setting a specific time to arrive and having the mental capacity to accept that there will be incidents on the road, slow or careless drivers, etc.
In a nutshell, [strong]we must always keep a positive and calm attitude toward driving[/strong] [strong][substantial]. In addition, there is no question that this is doable.
You always have the option to seek the assistance of a psychologist if you struggle to deal with the effects of stress.
Applying psychological principles to the driving experience has led to the discovery of distinct categories of motorists, which can be categorized according to their personalities outside of the car and their demeanor when they are behind the wheel.
Generally speaking, we find more introverted profiles that create a bubble inside the car and are not affected by anything outside; on the other end of the spectrum, we have more aggressive drivers who do not hesitate to honk and insult other drivers.
When we get behind the wheel, we must be conscious of the types of people we are because each personality type is associated with a unique set of risks that require us to adjust.
If we are the type of person who acts hastily and passes everyone else, we run the risk of being involved in an accident caused by speeding.
On the other hand, if we are the type of person who keeps to themselves, we risk being involved in an accident because we are not paying attention to our surroundings.
Considering all of these factors concludes that we should never take our eyes off the road. It is straightforward to disconnect, and it can be driven mechanically.
We can arrive at our destination without recalling having been forced on certain portions of the route.
The fact that we can use this automation proves that we are skilled drivers; however, it also poses a significant risk.
We can make ourselves safer by getting sufficient sleep and rest, avoiding substances like drugs and stress, and sleeping well.
Now, however, the danger lies in the mobile phone; we must stow it away in the vehicle’s storage compartment or in a bag and refrain from responding to any Whatsapp messages.
We cannot allow the fact that we did not respond in time to cause us stress because it may result in the loss of our lives.
The hot police officer who gives us the signal, the breathtaking scenery, the gorgeous car driving in front of us…
We have already made it abundantly clear that we should never lose focus; the question now is, on what exactly should we maintain our concentration?
While we are driving, we will be presented with various inputs; the important thing is to be able to effectively prioritize those inputs based on their potential impact on our safety.
Yes, we can divert our attention to the hot officer for a short period, but as soon as possible, we have to turn it back to the road ahead.
In unfamiliar cities where we are unsure of our destination, we will be very aware of the indicative signs: we will slow down and take it easy, even if they end up beeping at us.
This is because we do not know where we are going.
“The only problem is that you cannot drive at this point.” “This driver is a poor performer.” These are the kinds of phrases that we’ve heard before and, who knows, maybe even said ourselves.
The trust that all participants are equally valid is the foundation upon which road traffic is built.
Suppose we, as individuals, begin to lack empathy for the perspectives and drive styles of others. In that case, we will break down the trust system between us, leading to more tension, stress, honking of horns, and, ultimately, more chances of collision.
Let’s go with the flow without trying to keep track of what everyone else is doing.
However, it would be best to exercise caution because this does not permit you to ignore unpredictable road conditions.
Perception can be said to be distorted when an illusion is present. We may be fooled by optical, auditory, or even olfactory illusions, but the visual variety is the most typical.
Because of recent developments in optical illusion research, the characteristics of road signs can now be altered.
However, we still have to deal with things like the tunnel effect, which is the reduction of the angle of vision at high speeds, as well as the effects of alcohol, which alter the way we perceive three-dimensional space.
These things make it more challenging to get a clear picture of what’s happening around us.
To react quickly to any incident, we need to learn how to accurately measure distances and speeds over time (the perception of the momentum we feel is not the same as the actual calculation), which is a skill that we can only acquire through experience.
When it’s nighttime, we should always reduce our speed.
The time we spend behind the wheel with an “L” for novices on our butts is crucial in determining our future as professional drivers.
We must assume that, although we learned how to drive in driving school, we did not know how to go in the complete sense of the word. And we will make some mistakes (and suffer in traffic circles).
Relax because we’ve all been in that situation, and other drivers, with a few unfortunate exceptions, will generally respect us for having been there.
The question of how to pick ourselves up and move on after experiencing setbacks preoccupies psychologists.
Discussing our and other drivers’ experiences can sometimes be challenging but beneficial in the long run.
We will discover that we are not nearly as clumsy as we imagine ourselves.
And above all else, there will be no going to the wildest party on our first weekend of having a license and driving home while under the influence of alcohol (not then and not ever).
We situate ourselves in the world about other people, and the same thing happens to us while driving. We are influenced (always and by everyone, even if some do not want to recognize it) by how other drivers perceive us and how we think they perceive us.
This is true even if some drivers do not like to acknowledge it.
Already, information about us can be gleaned from the make and model of the car itself. Therefore, driving is an example of a social relationship.
Therefore, if we move over to let a pedestrian cross the street in an area without a crosswalk, we anticipate a polite thank you from the pedestrian. If they pass us in a hostile manner, we might feel aggravated.
We need to make a concerted effort not to get caught up in a downward spiral of negativity and work hard not to let the attitudes of others influence us.
Also, it would be best if you didn’t try to provoke the staff.
Okay, all of the information presented so far is ideal; however, the harsh reality is that we will not have a lot of time to think in some circumstances.
It is accurate and based on what we know about psychology; we try not to criminalize any attitude that manifests at a particular time.
If we have ever yelled at another driver, we recognize that this was a natural reaction on our part and work to improve our response in the future while acknowledging that it was inevitable.
I’ll listen to some podcasts about true crimes, the complete discography of the CCR, or the morning talk show. The goal here is not to make everyday driving something boring or unpleasant.
Because if we are not having a good time in the car, we are more likely to become distracted, go faster than we should, and, in a nutshell, we are more likely to get into an accident.
This is not some trite advice for improving oneself; instead, it is to accept reality.
And to make the most of one’s time off during the week, weekends, and vacations, whether by oneself, with a partner, or amongst family and friends.
Because driving is one of the most pleasurable things we can do when we don’t have to worry about our health, and we’re not in danger.
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