Think you driving a lot? Imagine spending three, four, even seven or more hours a day behind the wheel.
A day in the life of a road warrior is filled with tailgaters, cut-off artists, rage-filled fellow drivers and speed demons bearing down in their rear-view mirrors.
To stay safe and keep their car insurance rates low, these pros have figured out ways avoid tickets and crashes.
Discouraging driving tailgaters
Not only is tailgating annoying, it’s dangerous.
“Tailgating is a form of aggressive driving and a major contributor to crashes,” says Jim Peterson, a driving instructor in Chicago.
Not to mention that it’s hard to see anything when your rear-view mirror is filled with the grill of the car behind you.
Liz Egan, a 20-year veteran gift-basket delivery driver in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla,, travels as many as 160 miles a day and says she typically drives “fairly fast within the ‘implied’ speed limit and keeps up with the flow of traffic.”
To discourage a driver who “rides her butt,” Egan simply slows down. “I just take my foot off the accelerator and allow the vehicle to slow down until the tailgater gets impatient and goes around me.”
Reduce driving road rage
Adrian Miller, a sales trainer and consultant, and self-proclaimed road warrior for 24 years in the Albany, N.Y., area who logs more than 500 miles a week, says harmonious melodies keep her from getting worked up behind the wheel.
“Fantastic music,while driving, helps me manage road rage,” she says. Miller has an “on the road” playlist on her iPod and never gets behind the wheel without great CDs that make her feel happy.
Rick Notter, author of “Sound Advice: Music’s Effect on Life, Health, and Happiness,” suggests choosing music that’s no more than 145 beats per minute other-vice it’s distracting smooth driving.
“Anything faster may have the reverse affect. Fast music could ramp up your emotions and be extremely exciting, which could lead to you falling victim to rage,” he says.
Staying alert while driving
After a long day of work or refereeing the kid’s shouting matches, it’s easy to get distracted. To make sure he’s not tempted to drift off while driving, Jay Moyes, a night driver for Access Para transit, a company that transports disabled riders across southern California for doctor visits, shopping and other activities, never looks at one thing for too long.
“I keep my eyes moving. Instead of looking at one thing for even a few seconds, I continually scan the road, my mirrors, etc.”
Peterson says scanning is the best way to avoid a crash when driving.
“Looking around at your surroundings and in all of your mirrors helps you see a deer on the side of the road, a car that might turn in front of you and even a cop tucked under an overpass waiting to give you a speeding ticket,” Peterson says.
Mind over matter
If you can make it through a day without crashing in New York City, you can make it anywhere. Solomon Diallo, a Big Apple cabbie, starts his day with a clear mind.
“I meditate for a few minutes before I get into the vehicle. I like to get into a mindful state so I can prepare for whatever may be on the road.”
Diallo says that meditation helps him brush off rude road hogs and pushy pedi-cabs — and a few cheap fares, too.
“I’m not upset or very stressed before I even get on the road. That helps me ignore or brush off a lot of things.”
Let off the gas
“I always use cruise control,” says Ron Sage, a salesman in Austin, Texas. “After getting three speeding tickets in four years I finally decided giving in and using cruise was easier than paying those fines.”
Sage admits his still speeds, just a little. “I set my cruise control for five to seven miles over the speed limit and sail on my merry way.”
Chewing gum for sanity
Chewing gum keeps cross-country truckers alert and awake.
“I have peppermint gum tucked in just about every crevice of my cab,” says Russ “Rusty” Johnson, a Gainesville, Fla.-based truck driver with more than three decades of experience.
“Chewing keeps my mind going and the strong mint flavor helps me stay awake while driving long distances .”
Driving is not for driving – it is for reach destination!