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Ways to de-stress while driving
Summer seems to be a time when temperatures can soar, and I’m not just talking about the outdoor ones. It seems that, in the summer, with the heat, the changes in traffic patterns and traffic flow, and all the construction, that road rage can rear its ugly head. This summer seems to be particularly bad because, added to all the other stresses of summer driving, there is the high cost of fuel. During the summer months it is much harder to predict where and when slowdowns in traffic will occur. We can have the same number of car trips through the GTA, along the 401 for example, but they are not concentrated in the mornings and afternoons. People are on holidays or they are working summer hours and the traffic patterns are much harder to predict. So how can we keep our cool during the summer months? I live off the Queensway and there is a major construction project going on this summer that has that route tied up for miles each day. Even on a Sunday you don’t get a break from the extremely heavy volume. So my little treat to myself is to meander through the tree-lined side streets to get where I need to go. As I pull off the Queensway onto one of these streets I can feel my blood pressure dropping and my body begins to relax. It’s a small thing but it really seems to help. We are such creatures of habit. So often we are on “automatic pilot” when we drive and we take the same route every day, regardless of how busy it is. Why not try another route? Take out a map and check out your area. Or go exploring one day to see if you can find a different route. Even if it takes you a bit out of your way it may be worth it if it makes for a more pleasant, less stressful drive. A great road in the west end that I love to use is North Queen. It’s parallel to the Queensway and runs through an industrial area so there are very few traffic lights. I always feel much less stressed when I take it. Another good driving habit to try and get into any time of year is to give yourself a bit of extra time to get where you need to go. I know it’s really tough to do. Time is at such a premium these days. But if you can get into the habit, having extra time is a huge de-stressor. So what do you do to keep yourself calm when driving? I’d love to hear it.