How to stay relaxed in stressful driving situations

Posted in Blog, News  
Monday, January 20, 2020

 

Work days at every job can have little stressors that can make a task at hand seem daunting—truck driving included. It’s important to keep your cool in these situations when on the road because reactions to stressful events that are not thought through can be dangerous for everyone on the road. The good news is that when you use coping mechanisms to keep your cool in stressful driving situations it will leave you feeling safe and in a great mood!

 

Understanding Common Stressful Driving Situations

Stress comes at the most inopportune times. Let’s look at these two common driving scenarios that can be both stressful and aggravating:

 

You’re making good time on your route with a truckload of cargo to drop off. Traffic starts to slow and your navigation app shows that there is a standstill—in the middle of the expressway, in the middle of the afternoon, on an otherwise good day. The app shows an alternative route, but it doesn’t know you are driving a semi truck. Do you take the route or wait until traffic clears? You’re at a crossroads.  

 

Someone cuts you off in traffic, endangering your safety and the safety of everyone else on the road with you. Your heart pounds and you really want to lay on the horn and retaliate. Obviously, you can’t do any of this because that would make things more unsafe, but you’re still on edge from the encounter and need a way to forgive and leave that stressful moment behind. 

 

Sudden changes of plans, uncertainty, and the inability to control one’s circumstances are the building blocks of stress in many driving situations. Knowing that is the first step to figuring out how to bring yourself back into a better mindset. That’s when quick thinking and problem solving come in handy, so it’s a good thing that these two traits are some of what we look for when hiring our truck drivers. 

 

How to Deal With Stress

  1. Breathe. Stress can cause unsteady breath, which can compound the negative feelings you experience during these situations. When you take control of your breath, problem-solving brain functions fall into place easier. That whole fight or flight response can be better controlled when you breathe in deeply and exhale completely, letting you make a thoughtfully safe choice.  
  2. Problem solve. Once you’ve gotten your brains back in your head where they belong and your breath in check, come up with a strategy that seems right to remedy your stressful situation and don’t overthink it! For example, if you happen to realize you’ve made a choice that will add a few minutes to your route, don’t stay stuck on that thought and remember that your number one priority was to make it through that stressful situation safely—and you did that just fine!
  3. Run through your safe driving checklist. Take back control of the situation by making sure you’re doing all the things that keep you safe on the road, because safe driving is your most important task. Even when you are running late, keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Make sure that any move you and your truck make are well thought out. You’ll get there faster if you keep a calm presence in your cab.

 

Summary

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22. While every job has its stressful moments, we want you to remember the bigger picture and arrive at your destination safely. How do you deal with stressful situations? Let other drivers know your coping skills in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.

 

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