Stress affects us all at one time or another, whether it’s down to work, home life or a tough situation you’re facing. Stress affects us physically, mentally and emotionally as well as impair our judgement and our reactions, which isn’t good news when we need to concentrate on something significant, like driving.

It’s important to recognize how you feel and try to relax before getting in the car. So to help you stay calm behind the wheel, we’d like to some tips on what to do if you feel stressed before driving.

Even on the road stress can be inevitable with the typical crazy Malaysian drivers. There are several types of Malaysian drivers: the Dumb, the Action seekers and ‘Ghost’ rider’s, referring to bikers. Each one of the above causes major stress wherever and whenever. Then, there’s the damn traffic peak times,, holiday seasons and virtually everytime at major shopping malls or hotspots.

Auto tips to cope with stress

There are clear and present danger signs of stress either conscious or sub-conscious. You might feel some or all of these:

  • Becoming easily irritated with everyone
  • Feeling distracted, forgetful or moody
  • Having racing thoughts
  • Not being able to ‘switch off’
  • Becoming quiet and withdrawn
  • Under or overeating
  • Smoking more, drinking more alcohol or taking drugs
  • Tense muscles
  • Headaches
  • Feeling sick
  • Not sleeping well or insomnia
  • Getting ill more often

Here are a few tips to do before you get in the car stressed:

  • Go for a short walk around your area to get some fresh air and unwind from the stresses of the day.
  • Wait until you feel calm, collected and well enough to head out on your journey. Driving itself can be stressful, especially in rush hour, so if you are already stressed this is likely to make matters worse.
  • Try mindfulness and deep breathing before getting behind the wheel. After all, a little meditation has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • If you’re feeling ill from stress with headaches or sickness, make sure you feel well enough before you drive. Drink plenty of water and get some fresh air.
  • Write down a list of the things that are stressing you out and set yourself some time to tackle them later on, sometimes writing your worries down and making time to sort them out helps clear your mind
  • Is stress causing you to struggle with addiction to alcohol, drugs or nicotine? Be aware that these could still be in your system before driving. If you’re struggling with addiction or substance misuse, then it’s important to seek help. Never drive under influence!
  • If you’re having trouble sleeping due to stress then make sure you aren’t too tired to drive. we advise if you feel sleepy whilst behind the wheel, find a safe place to pull over and stop. Research suggests that almost 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related so don’t drive if you feel sleepy.
  • Mood is another factor which could affect stress level. If you aren’t into the mood of driving then don’t. Hail a cab or have a friend drive you, instead.

We hope this guide gives you a sense of responsibility to discover some signs of stress on and off the road. Driving shouldn’t be too stressful. If it is, consider the many options available like a transport app of your choice.