In modern American culture, it’s often hard not to do anything at all. We’re often pushed by deadlines, we’re encouraged to be productive, and we thrive off of meeting our goals.
That’s part of the reason that psychologists think drivers have such a hard time being stuck in traffic — or simply being stuck in the car for a long time. They don’t feel like they’re being productive.
That morning commute to work feels like 45 minutes of wasted productivity. Getting caught in a traffic jam makes people feel like their time is being stolen.
The results can be very serious. Some people grow agitated and it can lead to road rage. Others driver dangerously and aggressively, trying to make up lost time. Still others just feel bored and turn to texting or browsing the internet on their phones as a way to kill time.
All of these things can lead to accidents. Everyone knows this in advance. But, in a culture where we’re trained to always be doing something, it’s very hard to just do nothing and feel content.
Researchers recommend numerous methods to stay off the phone and keep from driving dangerously. Some suggest focusing on breathing, while others say to just take time to really relax and unwind. Some say to just focus on feeling happy, with an “attitude of gratitude.” It may feel forced at first, but concentrating on it can make it real.
Even if you learn to relax and embrace doing nothing, everyone else won’t. When a bored, distracted or frustrated driver causes a car accident, you need to know all of your legal rights.
Source: Psychology Today, “5 Boredom Busting Traffic Tips,” Goal Auzeen Saedi, accessed July 14, 2017