I'm always thinking of better ways to do and think of things. It helps me have a more peaceful life. My driving and commuting is no exception. Here are some ideas and theories I have that make my driving life more peaceful. See if they do anything for you.
1. Tense White-Knuckle Driving - Next time you are in a clover turn getting on a freeway pay attention to how tense you are. I use to be SO TENSE when driving my car. My whole body would literally be stiff and my grip on the wheel was deadly. I started to ask myself, is this physical stress and strain necessary for better driving? My mind would be more stressed and tense to match my body too. I started to experiment with going through clover turns very relaxed, and I noticed nothing changed. The car performed the same, I whipped around the turn the same, in fact I enjoyed the driving MORE when I was relaxed. I now consciously focus on being relaxed while driving and I could swear I'm a better driver. It's like my mind matches my body. Thinking while relaxed, I'm convinced, is better. Think about the top athletes in a high pressure situation, they almost look relaxed and they perform better. Coincidence? I don't think so.
Am I saying you'll drive better relaxed? Maybe. Am I saying you'll arrive to your destination more relaxed? Yes. All at no sacrifice of anything just a conscious decision to relax.
2. Dealing With Idiot Drivers - How often do you get cutoff? How often does someone make a stupid driving decision that affects you? For me I run into it about once a day. I try to think about all the cars I am near in a given day and it's A LOT. Maybe 100's? Then I think about the possibility that one out of a hundred drivers has a special moment around me and I think, yeah that seems likely. Then I think to all of the times I've made a bad decision driving. The times when I thought "wow I'm an idiot, hey sorry man." This happens about once a week.
My point is you are going to experience an idiot now and then, plan on it. Also, you are an idiot driver now and then, plan on it. Unless you are a perfect driver, allow other people to be imperfect. It reminds me of a quote from a hero of mine. Here's a pic.
3. It's Easier to Navigate Going Faster Than Traffic - If you enjoy speed and go fast now and then I don't need to explain this at all. Moving faster than the herd, especially on the freeway, is safer than navigating at everyone's speed. There is a point though, going too much faster than traffic is dangerous as well. Where am I going with this? This reminds me of life. When you're doing what everyone else is doing, thinking like everyone is thinking, making the same moves everyone else is moving, IT'S CROWDED! It's more dangerous, and there are less options to choose from. Now when you move faster, decide quicker, and only look ahead, you will find yourself with many more options, less competition, and you'll get there faster. Doesn't this remind you of life?
4. Traffic is Always Worse When You Are Late - What is being late, really, when you're driving? It's the lack of preparation. It's the failure to plan properly and prepare early. How does traffic feel when you're late? ALWAYS HORRIBLE. It's the same traffic though. If you had extra time and were prepared it wouldn't stress you in the slightest. This absolutely reminds me of life.
When you don't plan and prepare, things are stressful. Let me give a simple example. I do a morning workout Mon-Fri at 6am in my basement. I've got a sleeping wife and baby, and I hate to wake them up. Normally I set my workout clothes and shoes in the bathroom the night before so I can go in close the door and get ready without disturbing them. Well one morning I forgot to prepare and I was going through drawers with my cell phone light trying to find my shorts. Then I was fumbling through the closet and tripping over things. I woke my wife up surely, and probably roused the kid. The tasks were the same: Grab my clothes, get ready, go workout. But because I didn't prepare I had a lot of stress over the same tasks. Same with driving, same with life. Plan and prepare to minimize stress.
5. What Is Driving Actually? - Let me give you a weird interpretation of driving so you can realize how petty everything that causes stress is:
You are going to get into a moving machine. You are going to see lots of colors and objects moving past you at different rates of speed. You are going to feel the movement of gravity, centrifugal force, and speed while driving. You are going to move your right foot slightly on two different pedals and twist a wheel slightly side to side to reach your destination. This moving machine will get you where you want to go. Isn't that nice?
Now let me give you the same weird interpretation of driving only this time on the worst day of driving ever, surrounded by idiot drivers with an old way of thinking:
You are going to get into a moving machine. You are going to see lots of colors and objects moving past you at different rates of speed. You are going to feel the movement of gravity, centrifugal force, and speed while driving. You are going to move your right foot slightly on two different pedals and twist a wheel slightly side to side to reach your destination. Randomly on your drive you will yell obscene language, push the center of the twisting wheel and arrive really stressed. This moving machine will get you where you want to go.
It's crazy to me that a bad day of driving is all a mental interpretation. Stress and frustration is a choice you've made during your drive. It could easily be the SAME EXACT experience as a good day of driving if you want it to. Think about it.
Enjoy your drive.