Don’t pretend like you’re immune. Holiday traffic (or indeed, any traffic) is perfectly designed, somehow, to take the human psyche to its deepest darkest depths. Perhaps it’s the slow creep of the gas pedal, promising forward movement but delivering nothing. Perhaps it’s the continual demolition of hope as traffic picks up suddenly and then quickly drops to a standstill.
Perhaps it’s having to deal with a city’s-worth of fellow drivers packed together in the same few lanes like so many cattle in a stall. Whatever it is, holiday traffic is the worst. For your sake, and the sake of other drivers, here are a few tricks for keeping yourself sane while locked onto the roads this holiday season.
Listen to Christmas Music
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Christmas music has the blessed ability to lift anyone’s mood, no matter the circumstance or situation. Christmas music abounds with good cheer and joviality, and features playful topics and well-crafted tunes. It’s hard to maintain a bad mood while listening to someone belting about the beauty of Christ’s birth, the falling snow, or kissing under the mistletoe.
Download Educational Podcasts
If Christmas music isn’t your thing, try out some scholarly podcasts for teasing and engaging your mind. Bring yourself up to speed on new technology, ideas, and innovations while stuck in miserable traffic. NPR’s Ted Radio Hour is particularly good for this sort of distraction. Podcasts designed to inform and educate are perfect for keeping you distracted from the car jam at hand.
“Read” Your Favorite Book
Did you know that it’s easier than ever to listen to your favorite book? Forget traditional reading. Download an audio version of a book that you love and let it play freely while moving at a glacial pace through the roads. Separate yourself from the dull world outside your windows with the vibrant one that you love, whether that’s the universe of Harry Potter or The Great Gatsby. You can also download something you’ve never read before and really forget about the misery before you.
Test Your Car Recognition
If you’re a car enthusiast (or a wanna-be car enthusiast) be sure to try this one out. As you drive, keep an eye on the cars surrounding you. Identify car logos and try to guess what model they are without looking at the secondary label. If you are unfamiliar enough with the brands to know what logos go with what, make yourself a cheat sheet and consult it when you’re really fully stopped. You’d be amazed at how much car knowledge you’ll quickly gather while frozen on the road.
Keep Road Rage at a Minimum
Holiday traffic may be designed to drive you crazy, but you have the option to fight back and preserve your sanity. Try out one of these tricks to keep yourself less maddened while on the road. It may be frustrating to be crawling at the speed of smell along a 60-mph freeway, but always remember: you’re not in it alone. Literally.