Revealed: The 8 Best Ways to Reduce Stress While Driving

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With bored children, road construction, traffic, and a late start, driving can be very stressful.

Since you probably have to drive every day, reducing your stress in the car is a worthy goal.

If you can arrive at your destination with less stress, you’ll be a better position to make the most of the situation. It can be challenging to decompress after a stressful drive.

Turn your car into a rolling sanctuary!

Here are my 8 best ways to reduce stress while driving:

  1. Leave early. Being late is stressful and adds stress to the total driving experience. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination with at least a few minutes to spare. You’ll be more relaxed and in a better position to deal with traffic, construction, or any other unexpected obstacles.
  2. Know how to get there. If you’re driving to someplace you’ve never been, take the time to map out your route. GPS systems are always improving, but they still make mistakes. Be certain you know where you’re going and how long it will take.
  3. Find a new route. Are you sure you’re taking the easiest route to your destination? Just because you’ve taken the same route to work for the last three years doesn’t mean it’s the only way. Look at a map and consider the other possibilities. You might find a quicker, or at least a more pleasant, driving route.
  4. Keep the kids occupied. Bored, whining children are quite stressful! Ensure that you’ve brought snacks, books, and anything else that will keep them busy. There’s nothing more pleasant than happy, peaceful children.
  5. Create a relaxing environment. Pick up the trash on the floor with this handy car garbage can, keep the windows clean, and maintain your automobile. Stress is accumulative, so eliminate as many sources of stress as possible.
  • Turn on the radio or put on a CD. Calming music is one of the best ways to relax quickly. Studies have proven the value of relaxing music. 
  • Avoid listening to music that you find overly stimulating. Avoiding the news is a good idea if you find it upsetting.
  • Use essential oils in your car with this super effective car essential oil diffuser to help you destress while you durve.
  1. Control your emotions by controlling your thoughts. You can’t get mad about the guy that just cut you off unless you think negative thoughts. Training your mind to focus on positive ideas enables you to completely avoid the stress of many situations.
  • For example, there’s a big difference between thinking: “I can’t believe the nerve of that guy – someone should teach him a lesson,” and “I’m glad no one got hurt. It must be my lucky day.”
  • Other people don’t anger you. They inspire thoughts that create anger. You can control your thoughts. Avoid allowing a stranger to affect your mood. You’re in control.
  1. Get calm before you leave the house. The experience of driving is often more stressful than whatever you were doing before you climbed into the car. Start in a good place by relaxing before you drive. Take a few minutes, close your eyes, listen to your iPod, breathe, and relax.
  2. Our emotions tend to follow our behaviors. Try skipping down the street with a smile on your face and see how you feel. You can’t skip in the car, but you can smile. Put a smile on your face and keep it there. If you have to be in the car anyway, you might as well enjoy it as much as you can.

Driving can be stressful. However, you can learn to find relaxation in driving by applying some ( or all) of my 8 best ways to reduce stress while driving which I shared in this post.

Apply your ability to remain calm and relaxed in the car to other situations, too.

Leave early, listen to calming music, and keep the kids busy. There’s little more to do. Smile and enjoy the ride.

Use the comment box below to share your thoughts with me on these two questions:

  1. What is the most stressful factor for you when driving?
  2. What do you do to reduce stress while driving?

Want more stress management activities?  How about 50!  Download my FREE guide: 50 Simple Stress Management Activities.

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  1. I am forwarding this to my husband. He drives way too much. Lately he has become an angry driver, and this concerns me.

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      Hi Glenda, Thanks for stopping by. Does your husband drive for work, in other words, is he required to drive as part of his work or career? Then points 5, 6 and 7 are really crucial for him. He needs to find ways to reduce the stress of driving quickly since it may already be taking a toll on him. I just read a blog post about the top ten reasons we hate driving, but since most of us HAVE to drive for work, to run errands, or for other reasons, we really do need to find ways to keep the stress of driving under control. I hope my ten tips above help your husband reduce his stress while driving.

  2. Good tips Darlene. After being in a serious car accident, I find driving especially stressful. I will test out your pointers next time I hit the road.

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      Oh Dear! Pat, the horror you must have felt and experienced after being in a serious car accident. I came shockingly close to a tragic car accident once, but the brakes kicked in just in time to prevent a total disaster and that left me shaky and paranoid about driving for months. Now I try to apply my own advice and use as many as possible of the pointers above to beat stress while driving. It does not always work, since i get pretty impatient on the road sometimes, but they work more often than not. Try them and see how they work for you, and above all..STAY SAFE! 🙂

  3. My husband and I were just talking tonight about all of the angry drivers in the world. Everyone is in such a hurry all the time.

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      Hi Rena, You are so right. Every aspect of our lives often feels like one big rush, no wonder as women we feel so overwhelmed most of the time. I wrote a blog post about stress management interventions for women, and the need to scale back and slow down. That applies to driving too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Glad you commented on my blog post about How much I hate I could find ways to beat the stress of driving…Thanks Darlene. I will try some of these…but i still hate it.

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      LOL…I fully understand Renee. I still hate it too…but since we gotta do it, I figure I better figure out some the best ways to reduce stress while driving and try to make it a bit “less stressful. 🙂

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