Make Sure Your Car Is in Good Shape
If you feel bad stuck in traffic or dealing with road rage all around you, imagine how much worse it would be with a car that won’t budge an inch. Maintain a regular maintenance schedule for your vehicle, and bring it in for a periodic inspection. If you change your oil every 3,000 miles or three months (and you really should), most service providers will give your car a multipoint inspection to ensure that the engine is running smoothly, all the fluids are clean and full, and the tires are at the right inflation levels. Have your mechanic inspect other systems at least once a year as well. For extra peace of mind, pack a road emergency kit and a few basic car repair tools in the trunk, and take the time to learn how to use them if your car breaks down.
Let the Music Play
Skip the newscasts, and listen to spirit-lifting music in the car. Whether you’re belting out songs yourself or listening to light and soothing tunes, sitting in traffic isn’t so bad with an appropriate soundtrack. Classical and pop genres tend to put people in a less confrontational frame of mind, but if it works to soothe your inner savage beast, crank it up.
Stay in Your Lane
Getting there faster won’t make you feel better. Stick to a regular lane, and maintain the speed limit, focusing on your driving instead of keeping up with all the drivers with lead feet. In truth, studies show that racing from lane to lane at top speed (or higher) in moderate traffic only garners you a scant few extra seconds in reaching your destination. It’s just not worth it. Better to stay cool and mindful in your own lane.
Count Your Blessings
Here’s one more way to enjoy more stress-free driving: If you’re stuck in traffic, don’t make it a time to dwell on what’s wrong—list what’s right instead. Think about where you’re heading. Are you going to work? Be glad you have a good job. Heading home? Think about the ones you love waiting for you there. Running an errand? Consider the benefits of completing your task. Even things that seem like a challenge or drudge likely have some positive associations to them.