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How to Fix Your Most Dangerous Driving Habits

How to Fix Your Most Dangerous Driving Habits

We all know the various activities we are not supposed to do while driving. But despite the fact that everyone knows at some level how to drive safely, over 38,000 Americans were killed in traffic accidents in 2015. It was the largest percentage rise in vehicle accidents in 50 years.

We should remember that a car accident is a colossal safety failure and that even basic steps can help you avoid an accident. Therefore, some of the most dangerous driving habits are also some of the easiest to fix. Here are five habits which far too many drivers do and what you can do to avoid them.

  1. Road Rage

I once had a boss who was extraordinarily calm and respectful in the office, yet turned into a ball of rage whenever we drove together to an outside meeting. He would curse and slander anyone whose driving annoyed him in any way, and it was a deeply unpleasant experience especially because he was normally a nice guy.

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Road rage can transform anyone into a monster instantly, and an angry driver is an unsafe driver. But why do we get so angry? According to Slate, it is the fact that other drivers are anonymous and hidden in their cars. This causes us to dehumanize them and is comparable to how people online can transform into vicious jerks when they talk to someone while hiding behind a screen.

Driving alongside a passenger can help you act like you would normally, though that does not always work as in my case. But if you find yourself experiencing road rage, take a moment to calm down, breathe deeply, and not let your anger take over.

  1. Drowsy driving

Drunk driving is dangerous because alcohol slows your reactions which you need to drive safely. But driving while sleepy poses similar problems. Furthermore, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report found that drowsy driving is more likely to occur on freeways which increase the chances of a fatal accident, and that young men are the group most at risk from this sort of accident.

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If you are tired, don’t hesitate to pull over and rest. Sleeping in a car is not as comfortable sleeping in your bed, but it is still better than taking the chance of sleeping forever.

  1. Speeding through yellow lights

Contrary to the popular beliefs of drivers, yellow lights do not mean “Speed up to avoid the red light.” They mean “slow down.”

Slowing down on seeing a yellow light and being the first car stuck at a red light sucks. But the problem with speeding up is that it encourages you to keep speeding up until the last second, increasing the risk that you mistime things and end up running a red light after all. And even if you avoid a car accident for now, you can find yourself having a very unpleasant conversation with a nearby officer.

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  1. Distracted driving

We’re not just talking about cell phones. Activities like eating and talking can also take your mind off the road and increase your risk of an accident. In fact, one of the biggest causes of distracted driving is young children and parents’ attempt to handle their various idiosyncrasies.

Distracted driving caused over 400,000 injuries in 2009, but they are not that difficult to stop. Put your phone away. If something really urgent pops up like an important phone call, pull over and take care of it. Focusing only on one thing at a time is a crucial safety tip, whether we are looking at driving, the workplace, or anywhere else.

  1. Seat belts

Cars have more safety features than ever, but nothing beats a seatbelt when it comes to saving lives. The CDC observes that seat belts saved 12,802 lives in 2014 and warns that airbags “are not a substitute for seat belts.” And yet despite that important fact, far too many people think that they are “too old” for seat belts or find it uncomfortable.

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If you’re not used to constantly wearing a seat belt, get used to it. Wear it all the time, even when you only need to move your car a couple feet. Doing it every single time regardless of circumstances will turn it into a habit.

Make seatbelt wearing a habit and you will get used to it. Far from feeling uncomfortable while wearing it, you will feel uncomfortable driving without it. And that is a good thing.

Relax and stay focused

Driving safely is not that hard. All it requires is that you focus on the road, not be distracted by texts or anything else, and staying alert. Alertness, more than anything else, is the one trait which will help you stay alive and not turn into another statistic.

Make good driving a habit by wearing your seatbelt and by getting rid of distractions, and you will have nothing to worry about.

Featured photo credit: Lord Jim via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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