It is really easy to associate the word “safe” with the word “boring.” It’s just human nature. If we’re being “safe” then we’re obviously missing out on a chance to have more “fun.” Before we go any further, let’s be clear about this one thing: “Driving is FUN!” The best part is that it is still fun even when you’re taking all the necessary precautions to stay SAFE. That’s right: you don’t have to drive at super speeds to have fun driving. You don’t have to weave through traffic and drift to a stop in your parking spot to make it fun. We do, of course, understand that many of you won’t believe that defensive driving at the speed limit with both hands on the steering wheel is a total party. That’s understandable, too. So, let’s take a look at some simple ways to make driving – even safe driving – more fun.
Why It’s Important to Make It FunWe can compare “safe and boring” to “unsafe and exciting” all day, but that’s not the most important thing, here. Many new drivers deal with a lot of anxiety when they get behind the wheel. They’re so worried about doing everything just right and avoiding potential dangers that they end up driving in a way that actually puts them in more danger. If you’re having fun while you drive, chances are you’re feeling confident behind the wheel. And when you’re feeling confident, you’re in a better mindset for making better decisions and reacting appropriately.
How to Make It FunWhat is it about driving that makes it so fun? Is it the freedom of the open road? Probably. Is it the feeling of being in control of a powerful vehicle? That’s a part of it, too. Is it the chance to sing along with your favorite songs at the top of your voice with no one around to provide criticism? Well, your mileage may vary on that one. The point is, there are a lot of things that make driving fun, so let’s consider a few things you can do to build on those elements to reduce anxiety and help new drivers look forward to their time behind the wheel.
- Improve the vehicle’s performance. We’re not suggesting that you must have a “performance vehicle” to have any fun on the road. We are, however, suggesting that a vehicle that makes strange noises and doesn’t respond like it should can add to the stress of a situation rather than make it fun. Get your vehicle in for some servicing to ensure it performs like it’s supposed to.
- Make comfort a priority. This is especially true if you’re heading out on a long drive. So, clean out the car every now and then, add some cushions if needed, and make sure the AC/heater is working well. You can’t have fun in a vehicle that smells bad and makes you sweat all the time.
- Choose your entertainment carefully. If you enjoy podcasts of a political nature – and yelling at those podcasters because they’re obviously out of their minds – then maybe you should just listen to some music instead. If you’re mind is focused on arguing with people who aren’t there – well, it may be fun, but it certainly isn’t safe. Sing along with the music if you like. Really give those vocal cords a stretching, but always keep your mind on the road.
- Don’t let it become a chore. For many of us, driving stops being fun when we move on from those early days of excitement and freedom to the later days of driving family members or friends from one place to another. If it starts to feel like a chore, it may be time to reward yourself for completing those chores. This way, you’ll have something to look forward to, even if it is just a quick drive to take your little sister to school.
- Don’t let the “fun vampires” get to you. Nothing ruins a nice drive like getting cut off on the highway, or getting stuck behind a driver who insists on going 5 mph under the speed limit. Find new and interesting ways to avoid an aggressive response on the road. A backhanded compliment instead of a raging tirade could help. Maybe take the higher road (pun intended) and ignore them all together. Vampire rules state that they can’t come inside unless you invite them in, so it really is up to you to determine if those other drivers ruin your fun or not.