The top 10 driving stresses facing drivers as our roads return to normal

The top 10 driving stresses facing drivers as our roads return to normal. with the return of traffic jams now causing the most agitation behind the wheel

Ask yourself – “How do I drive?” Do I look ahead, do I look further than the end of my bonnet? To the car in front of me? Or perhaps I look as far ahead as I can see?

It’s so important to expect the unexpected. Looking as far ahead as possible helps you do this. By looking that bit further ahead you may just notice that Haulage truck emerging, that car turning right or even that child running on the footpath.

It’s a lovely day out there, if you’re a few minutes late, does it matter? What matters is we get there safely. So be safe, respectful and look out for all other road users. According to a recent survey,  there are many reasons to get stressed when driving or cycling. As traffic gets heavier every day what are the things that are getting your blood pressure rising? In this article, we address the top 10 and how to avoid them, reduce them or prepare for them.

No.1 The return of the traffic jam according to our poll is the top reason with 42% of people finding it stressful. 

There are a couple of things you can do to avoid a jam.

  • Change your routine. Do you need to travel at the same time as everyone else?
  • Could you split your workday up? Work from home for the first few hours and wait for the traffic to subside and then set off?
  • What about setting off earlier? If your journey takes 60 minutes if you leave at 8 am, would leaving 30 minutes earlier make a difference? If you start your workday earlier could you leave earlier? If not, could you use that extra 30 minutes you’ve saved cycling or driving at lunchtime? Or use it for a walk or other activity before you start your day?
  • By making sure you have plenty of time or extra time that should immediately lower that anxiety rating.
  • Make sure you’re not stressed when you hit that queue. Road rage just doesn’t happen like any state it builds up over time.
  • Stress and mental health problems can also impact or trigger bad or erratic driving behaviours. These apply to both you and others on the road and could include:
    • The behaviour of other drivers
    • Increased workload/the demands of the job
    • Poor work organisation and job/role uncertainty
    • Poor work/life balance
    • Domestic/personal issues.

No.2 Getting used to busier roads again is stress for 33%. 

If you’re concerned about your skills being overstretched, then test them out at a quieter time of day. If you remove some of the pressure it will help your confidence levels.

  • Remove the deadline
  • Practice makes perfect. Take time during those quieter periods to go out and refresh your skills. Avoid mornings before 10 am. Let the ‘rush hour’ subside and schoolchildren get safely into school and the road is yours.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask a friend or don’t forget us.

No.3 People returning to the road who might be out of practice accounts for 27%

  • Remember you are not the only one who drives or cycling and it’s good to share. We already share the road with pedestrians, cyclists, etc.
  • Take extra time if you’re concerned that others will be stressed.
  • Maybe share the load and travel with a work colleague to help ease congestion. Often during ‘rain’ periods, we hear of people doing a relay time drive. The person with the longer journey drives to you and then you drive from there.
  • If you’re worried about a colleague offer to do this so they (as a nervous driver) aren’t on the road.

No.4 Stressing to get to your location on time, is a problem for nearly ¼ of those surveyed at 24%

  • If you’ve been brought up to never be late then think again. While lateness is sometimes viewed as disrespectful, how about turning to plan?
  • Better late than never might mean that rather than risking your life you are 5 mins late!
  • Are you one of those people that don’t leave extra time? If the GPS says 55 minutes you expect it to take exactly that or possibly less? Have you allowed for traffic?
  • If you left earlier and allowed 20 minutes spare, you’d probably be in a better frame of mind when you arrived?

No.5 15% of those surveyed said they are not looking forward to long car journeys to destinations. 

  • Unfortunately, the truth is tiredness can kill.
  • The simple rule is don’t drive drowsy – stop at least every 100 miles or two hours of driving BEFORE fatigue sets in.
  • Tiredness isn’t something that suddenly comes on, there are several actions you can try to keep yourself fully focused and aware which include:
  • Winding down the window
  • Turning up the music
  • Stopping to take a quick walk
  • Talking to a passenger
  • Stopping to splash cold water on your face
  • Adjusting the seat so it is uncomfortable
  • Changing lanes more frequently.

However, the most effective countermeasures are:

  • Obtaining adequate sleep (a good night’s sleep) before a journey
  • Taking a nap before a journey
  • Avoiding driving in the early morning or late evening
  • Pulling over to a roadside hotel to sleep
  • Consuming a caffeinated drink and immediately taking a 15 – 20-minute nap
  • Sharing the drive, splitting the journey in half (provided the new driver is alert).
  • Avoid travelling after a large meal.

No.6 Linked to the long drives, is the concern that places will be closed, there is nowhere to stop for a rest for 12% surveyed. 

  • Planning, preparation, and payoff.
  • Most cafes and service stations are now fully open. The country is getting back to normal.
  • Without repeating the point, if in doubt, check it out before you leave home and refer to the above. Share the driving, plan, make sure you’ve had plenty of rest, and if possible, avoid the rush hour.

No.7 Commuting is never fun and 11% of those surveyed have concerns

  • Do you need to travel in rush hour?
  • Covid-19 has proved that we can all work from home unless you are a key worker.
  • Consider your fellow travellers. If you don’t have to boost the vehicles in the rush hour maybe don’t. While not everyone can work from home or avoid rush hour if you can maybe do?
  • Again, think about leaving earlier if possible or use different routes and methods.
  • Ask for help if you need it. The last 15+ months has taught us what’s important? Don’t suffer in silence.

No.8 My general fatigue while driving is affecting 11%.

  • The solution again, is above, plenty of rest and planning.
  • Ensure you are in the best of health and mindset when you are behind the wheel.
  • Being alert and rested will help you be more observant.
  • If it helps run through the below checks to make sure your vehicle is ready.
  • At times running through a list calms our brain. It can distract us from the worry and reassure us ‘we are ready’.
  • Run through the checks to ensure you are ‘fit to drive.
  • If we get into the practice of assessing ourselves and recognising if we’re feeling stressed or not on top of our game – and not get behind the wheel if we are concerned.
  • Drive Zimbabwe Roadside Assistance ‘POWDERY’ checks are a good starting point for any journey:
    • P: Petrol
    • O: Oil
    • W: Water
    • D: Damage
    • E: Electrics
    • R: Rubber
    • Y: You. Are you fit to drive?

No.9 Returning to the road when you are out of practice is relevant to 11% of respondents.

  • Alternatively, refer to the points above.
  • Remove the stressful deadline and pick quieter times or go out with a friend.

No.10 Finally, the 10th most stressful thing is not knowing if your car is still capable of long journeys which applies to 7%.

  • If in doubt get it checked out by a professional.
  • Even as a novice you can run through our Drive Zimbabwe Roadside Assistance    ‘POWDERY’ checks. If you’re struggling Google can help.
  • However, if there is any doubt it’s better to get it checked before you start.
  • It might be cheaper to hire a reliable vehicle than break it down.
  • What it could cost you in $$ will certainly ease the burden on your blood pressure.

Reaching the destination safely is the best reward for any motorists! Should you encounter any motoring issues, remember that Drive Zimbabwe Roadside Assistance  provides 24/7 Roadside Assistance Service for our Members and the motoring community

Whilst it’s possible to reduce your risk of breakdown, it’s an unfortunate reality that even the most expertly maintained and superbly driven vehicle may break down due to unforeseen circumstances. In these instances, Drive Zimbabwe Roadside Assistance breakdown cover can make all the difference. Call us or  Whatsapp at 0780 579 261/0718 084 297 / 0773 232 270 and Join Today

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