How to Cope with Stress When Driving

by | Mar 27, 2023 | Auto


Driving in heavy traffic is one of the most common situations when people experience stress when driving. Other factors may also be sources of stress on the road, such as running late, not feeling familiar with the road, or personal factors, like feeling tired. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your stress at bay when on the road. Below are eleven tips to help you manage stress when driving, read on!

11 Tips to Manage Stress When Driving

Maintain a Detached Attitude

You cannot control the actions and the behavior in traffic of others around you, but you can control your own attitude. Maintaining a cold, calm attitude will give you the best chances to easily manage any surprises that might come up in traffic. Understand that different people manage stress in different ways, and remind yourself not to take things personally when driving, as your purpose is to arrive safely at your destination.

Breathing Exercises

Breathing techniques are known to help manage stress and anxiety. Consider learning at least a few breathing exercises that you can easily use to calm down your nervous system if you feel that stress negatively impacts your driving.

Don’t Underestimate Music

Listening to the music you enjoy can help bring you to a balanced state between relaxation and alertness when driving. Because radio stations fade in and out along a route, it is easier to have a different source for your music, like CDs. Choose your favorite tunes to get you in a good mood while on the road.

Allow Yourself Enough Time and Know Your Route

A lot of accidents happen because people are running late, meeting unexpected obstacles, or speeding up. Give yourself extra time for possible traffic jams, crashes, constructions, and other detours that could cause delays in your plan. Have a good idea of how the area looks and use an onboard navigation system to avoid stress and easily locate your destination.

The best way to know if there will be road constructions or an accident ahead of you that may cause delays is to check real-time traffic reports before you head out. You can use a mobile app, such as Waze or Google Maps. By doing this, you can become aware of the traffic patterns in the area, and you will allow yourself enough time for any unexpected detours and other potential delays.

Dealing with Being Lost

Rather than putting yourself down or blaming yourself for getting lost, focus on finding the solution. Pull over, stretch for a moment, have a look at your GPS if you have one, or look at a map. In case you cannot find your way with the map, or you don’t have one available, head towards a gas station to ask for directions.

Stay Cool, Comfortable, And Fed

Keep in mind your physical comfort in your strategy to reduce stress. Add air freshener, wear comfortable clothes, and adjust your position in the car so you can feel relaxed while on the road. Also, keep some snacks close by, to have them on hand in case you get hungry.

Don’t Engage With Backseat Drivers

Sometimes, having a backseat driver on board can be very stressful, especially when the unwanted advice comes on top of heavy traffic or other stressful conditions. Here’s the best way to deal with this: Don’t respond. Try to avoid a stressful and unproductive exchange by not engaging in a conversation with backseat drivers. If this is activating for you, use a quick breathing technique to relax and help you maintain a detached attitude.

Treat Merging at Rush Hour As Routine Driving

Feeling nervous when changing lanes or entering the highway is common, especially when everything becomes hectic at rush hour. Rather than avoiding rush hours or certain routes, treat them as part of your routine drive. Exercising difficult maneuvers off-peak times will make them more familiar and contributes to better stress management while driving during rush hours.

Keep Calls And Messages Away

Your phone constantly buzzing while you’re driving can be very stressful. Even if the pinging and ringing are muted, the temptation to take a pick at your phone is still there. Try to use the driving mode on your phone, use apps that temporarily block phone calls and messages during driving, or simply put your phone away until you’re safely parked.


Exercising helps reduce stress, especially when done regularly. This is a long-term solution for better stress management in general. Regular physical activity helps your brain produce “feel good” neurotransmitters, improves overall mood and well-being, and reduces the symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety. When deciding to get started with an exercise routine, consult your doctor first, and plan to build up your strength gradually. Choose something you enjoy, so you have a better chance of sticking with it, reserve time for it, and do it regularly for at least three weeks to build a habit.

Know Yourself

It might sound like a cliché, but knowing yourself better is one of the best stress management solutions. Take time to understand how to recognize when you feel stressed and how to quickly determine what stresses you out, so you can act on it and overcome it effectively. Knowing each of us has different reactions to stress, and is sensitive to certain stressors will keep you open to finding the best solutions that work for you.

Read also: Safety Tips for Driving at Night

Driving can be a stressful experience for many of us. However, there are measures we can take to reduce our stress levels in the car to make it more enjoyable and safe. By following the tips in this blog post, you should feel more equipped to face your journeys ahead.

Finally, if you need help finding affordable car insurance coverage that will help provide extra peace of mind on the road, our team would love to hear from you. TSL Insurance Group has a professional and dedicated team with over 50 years of experience in the insurance industry. Contact us today for your auto insurance needs in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Abbeville, Lutcher, or Franklin, LA!