This time of year is especially busy for cars and other vehicles on the roads. Add to that the sometimes dodgy weather (fog, rain, snow, sleet and a low sun) and the high emotions and stress levels of Christmas and it could easily be a recipe for disaster. And the one thing you definitely don’t need at this time of year is more expense and more stress.
So, how do you keep your cool when chaos is all around? We’ve got a few tips to make shopping trips stress free and festive road trips a little easier.
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🚗 Pick your Moment
We know it’s not always possible and it’s sounds simple BUT if you can avoid the busiest times then do! Get up and out early to get to the shops OR leave it until 3pm (in town centres) or 6.30pm (at out of town shopping parks). More chance of finding a parking space, less people in the shops, less traffic on the roads. Bonus.
🚗 Park and Ride
THE least stressful way of town centre shopping is to park on the outskirts and get a bus in. Whether that’s an official park and ride station or just parking near a bus route this takes the worry out of finding a space, finding coins to pay, and generally helps lower stress levels.
Oh the queues! Park and ride certainly helps with those too!
🚗 Be Kind – Park Properly
We’ve all been there – you see a space at the end of the row after HOURS of looking, head towards it only to realise the next car is so badly parked and you’re not getting in (or if you do, you’re not getting out of your car!). Don’t be that person. Check your parking as you leave, make sure someone can park next to you. Not only does this save on parking stress, it also saves on ‘knocking the car next to you with your door’ stress.
🚗 Leave the kids behind
It amazes me the amount of people who take their kids Christmas shopping. Before you all start ranting – I know it’s not always possible to leave them for whatever reason or whatever your circumstances are. BUT you can do a little research and see if there’s a shopping creche where you’re headed. Or ask a family member, or even pay a babysitter for three hours. Kids and Christmas shopping don’t mix, and they can’t manage their stress levels the way you can. This leads to tantrums, sweetie bribes and sugar highs which can all lead to distractions while you’re driving.
🚗 Check the Weather
And drive accordingly. Take a brolly because the likelihood is that you’ll have to park a long way from the shop you want to go in! Keep your distance when it’s wet, stick to the speed limit and don’t take unnecessary risks. It’s never good to have an accident but it’s really awful to have one at Christmas, with all the heartache that could bring.
🚗 Be Mindful of your Mind
Feeling stressed? Tired? Overworked? Headachy or icky? All good reasons not to get in your car ever but definitely at this hectic time of year. Take a minute to do a little breathing exercise to help you feel calm. Maybe even have a power nap before you need to head out. Treat your headache. Keep water in the car (dehydration is rife when shopping, drink as soon as you get back in your car. This will help with headaches too). We are on auto pilot for so much of our lives, but at this time of year it pays to be mindful of how you feel and how it might affect you behind the wheel.
We know it’s not always possible to do these things, but if you spend just 5 minutes breathing, clearing your mind and thinking about what impact the weather might have on the levels of traffic then you will have safer and happier festive shopping trips.
Pop into any of our branches for gorgeous air fresheners that will help to calm you as you get into your car. We’ve got great gift ideas too, which will help with a little bit of the stress. Pop into the Middlesbrough shop and Daisy can keep the kids occupied while you shop! 🚗
Featured image is from the Telegraph article about Festive Road Rage. Thanks!