February is Heart Month. Heart disease is the number 1 killer worldwide. Heart disease can affect your ability to drive safely. In addition to regularly visiting your doctor, there are many ways you can improve your heart health from home. We’re sharing three small things you can do as a driver to keep your heart healthy and happy.
1. Don’t smoke or vape.
We always hear about the dangers of smoking and vaping in regards to lung health, but did you know that smoking damages blood vessels and can cause heart disease? The car is a common place for smokers to indulge their habit. Smoking or vaping while behind the wheel is also a big distraction from the task of driving. Quitting smoking or vaping, while on the road or otherwise, is a great way to keep yourself healthy.
2. Develop healthy eating habits.
We’ve all been on a road trip where our diet mostly consisted of fast food and convenience store candy bars. It can be difficult to commit to healthy eating habits while on the road, but it’s so important to try! Next time you’re packing for a road trip, prep your snacks before you leave. Some heart-healthy snacks that would be great for the car include grapes, carrots, unsalted nuts or seeds, bananas, cucumbers, rice cakes, and whole-grain crackers. Avoid messy foods or foods that involve utensils that are too difficult to eat when behind the wheel. For larger meals, try to avoid the drive-thru as much as possible. If it’s your only option, pick the healthiest option you can and eat inside the restaurant or in your parked car to help avoid distracted driving.
3. Know your stressors.
Driving can be a stressful activity even in the best conditions. Some people get stressed out in traffic, or anxious during inclement weather. As a driver, knowing what triggers your stress and anxiety is important so you know how to handle these situations while on the road. Once you’ve identified your stressors, you can find healthy ways of coping with them.
Some stressors can be avoided. If you know that running late stresses you out, take steps to leave the house extra early. Avoid driving during storms if that’s a worry of yours. If traffic is a major stressor, try to find alternative routes or, again, leave the house early so that you have extra time built-in. If these stressors cannot be avoided, try to change your attitude about them. For instance, listen to your favorite music or audio book while you wait in traffic to try to make it a more relaxing, enjoyable experience. Adjust your expectations about the situation to fit reality. Unfortunately, there will always be traffic during rush hour. If you know to expect it and you come to accept it, then hopefully you’ll be able to manage your stress better. You can also try deep breathing exercises to calm down.
This Heart Month, take extra care of yourself by keeping these three tips in mind. Thank you for reading! Here at Safe2Drive, we offer online courses for traffic school and defensive driving, auto insurance discounts, driver education, and mature driver improvement. If you’re interested in finding out more about our online courses, please check out our website to see what courses we offer in your state!