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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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