Holiday driving strategies 101:

If you’re anything like me, you pack every moment before leaving for the holidays with running around getting ready to go. Often that may mean several late nights finishing things at work and building up a sleep deficit. By the time I’m on the road I could be yawning at the first chance to relax; which is all fine and good as long as I’m not feeling seriously drowsy. Rumble strips help many of us stay awake but once you’re fighting to keep your eyes open, Illinois State Trooper, Ed Howard says: “The most important advice I can give a driver who might feel a little bit sleepy is to find a place to pull over and get some rest. Driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence.” So what if you’re a few minutes late to Aunt Frances’ house? Pull over and rest for at least 20 minutes and it’s more likely that you’ll arrive safely.

Don't ignore these warning signs of driver fatigue(as noted by the New South Wales Road & TrafficAuthority):

  • Yawning
  • Poor Concentration
  • Tired Eyes
  • Restlessness
  • Drowsiness
  • Slow Reactions
  • Boredom
  • Oversteering 

Drivetime Yoga suggestions for fighting fatigue while driving:

  1. Practice some conscious breathing. Studies have shown that just be breathing more fully you increase mental clarity and energy. So, sit up a little straighter and let your breath drop into your belly. When you exhale, start low and release your breath all the way up through your nose.
  2. Try Jiggling! It’s a small, shaking that moves from your hips and up into your lower back. I wouldn’t recommend it after a big Thanksgiving meal, but Jiggling slightly can be a great pick-me-up.
  3. At stoplights you can get more energy moving by doing Spinal Twists: Keep your foot firmly on the brake and hips facing forward. Take a breath and on the exhale reach across your body with your left hand to grasp the edge of the right seat, gently twisting your upper torso to the right. Let your head follow the twist, looking over your shoulder at your friends in the back! Your right hand can hold in between the seats for greater leverage. Then at the next light, do the same in reverse twisting to the left.

When I’m tired I also notice that my emotions run more negative. I’m harder on myself and those around me. It can lead to more frustration at my fellow travelers out on the road. The holidays are traditionally the most stressful time of the year with pent up expectations and tensions. This can also lead to impatience and frustration at the added traffic. Working to keep an eye on the bigger picture can help. We’re all in this together with Thanksgiving being the busiest traffic holiday. So, cut yourself and your fellow travelers a little slack, find the generosity of the season and give thanks to have the freedom of mobility when many do not.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays. 

Copyright Elaine Masters,The YoGo Project, 2006-2010 - reprint with permission only, info@DrivetimeYoga.com

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