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Reducing Stress While RVing

Reducing Stress While RVing

Those leisurely Sunday drives that our grandparents took down quiet roads while sightseeing and enjoying the scenery are not the reality most modern day drivers experience. City traffic is bad enough, with multiple lanes of traffic, merging trucks, busses, and semis and bumper to bumper traffic jams are more than a petty annoyance; these are stress-producing, in any size vehicle. Even on country roads, impatient drivers, excessive speed, and other driving annoyances make driving far from enjoyable.

What can a driver in an RV do to eliminate the stress and find enjoyment behind the wheel? The experts have several tips. Our bodies have a physiological reaction to stressful situations, including those that occur when we are navigating the roads and highways. Heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, and the body’s fight or flight instinct kicks in.

Reducing stress when getting ready for a lengthy drive can be minimized by planning. Know the details – mileage, major routes, estimated travel time, etc. Allow plenty of time to get to where you are going to account for any potential traffic delays on the way there. Technology can provide an edge on this. Apps on a smartphone or GPS device can make this a lot easier but having an inkling of the route you are taking is a smart backup plan.

There is always one driver who gets on our nerves quickly. Maybe they are riding your bumper or changing lanes frequently or simply being reckless. It happens and unfortunately reacting to these traffic digressions is not the best option. Road rage is real, and it often occurs over very minor actions perceived as disrespect.

The best way to handle an aggressive motorist is to give them space. Change lanes to let them pass. Don’t attempt to retaliate by tapping your brakes, cutting them off, or other movements that would make the other driver angry.

It is also important to keep your own emotions in check. You will be affected by people doing things they shouldn’t be doing in traffic – speeding, changing lanes irresponsibly, being distracted. You needn’t take it personally. The other drivers are not out to get you so don’t respond in kind. Maintain a calm state and practice courtesy to other drivers.

Be aware of the should and should nots of driving. Make sure you are not following too close to the vehicle in front of you. Use your turn signals when making lane changes, turning, or entering or exiting the traffic flow. Be courteous and allow others to merge into your lane. Only tap your horn, if necessary, but avoid using the horn as an exclamation point on someone’s driving. When using high beams, be respectful of other drivers.

When you need to quiet the adrenaline during stressful driving moments, there are some simple and almost indetectable breathing exercises you can do. Breathe in through your nose and exhale slowly while counting to three. Repeat as necessary.

Stopping at a rest area, exiting the interstate for a pit stop or even pulling off to the shoulder for a break can all help keep the stress down. For any of these, make sure you can do so safely. Stop at a park along the way or turn off towards a small town’s downtown and take a walk. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress levels.

Listening to relaxing music or simply imagining a special place where you feel safe and comfortable are ways to distract the mind away from the stress-inducing situation. Getting a hug from a loved one or a touch on the shoulder from your ride-and-die traveling partner can also calm the body’s stress reactions.

Most RVers agree that getting to their destination can often be the most nerve-racking part of the RV lifestyle. Arriving at your destination safely is important, and arriving there calm, collected, and excited for the new adventure is always a win-win. 

Oct 5th 2021 Lois Tomaszewski

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