Skip to content

    Mental Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    How to Stay Healthy, Happy, and Safe on the Road

    Our expert has advice on saving your back -- and sanity -- on car trips this summer.
    By
    WebMD Magazine - Feature

    In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our July/August 2012 issue, we asked WebMD's mental health expert, Patricia Farrell, PhD, about diminishing road stress on long-distance car trips.

    Q: I'm traveling cross-country this summer and anticipating long hours in the car. What can I do to stay safe and sane?

    Recommended Related to Mental Health

    5 Halloween Character Case Files

    If you've decided to dress as a scary, creepy character this Halloween, you're likely to have plenty of company. Witches, zombies, ghouls, vampires, and werewolves are perennial favorites of young and old alike. You should also know, however, that most of these characters have medical and psychological "baggage," say the handful of experts who study them. So don't just take along a vial of blood or some magic potion to make your character more believable. Find out the possible medical and psychological...

    Read the 5 Halloween Character Case Files article > >

    A: Driving long distance presents all sorts of potential hazards. The trick? Plan your trip carefully -- where and when you'll go, and how you'll take care of yourself on the road.

    Don't get drowsy. A 2010 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 16.5% of all fatal car accidents are caused by driver drowsiness. Get enough shut-eye before and during your trip. Watch for warning signs while you're driving: yawning repeatedly, having difficulty keeping your eyes open, or not being able to remember the past few miles. Find a safe place to take a nap if needed.

    Back up your spine. To prevent lower-back pain on the road, use a lumbar support pillow. Make sure you're not sitting too far away from the pedals and steering wheel. Take lots of breaks from driving.

    Breathe deep. Use "relaxation breathing" to counter stress. Simply breathe in through your nose, hold it for a count of five, and then breathe out through your mouth. Do this at least three times, drawing your attention to the position of your shoulders and ribs. If you still feel wound up, stop and rest.

    Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of "WebMD the Magazine."

    Reviewed on May 12, 2012

    Today on WebMD

    contemplation
    Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
    lunar eclipse
    Signs of mania and depression.
     
    man screaming
    Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
    woman looking into fridge
    When food controls you.
     
    Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
    Article
    senior man eating a cake
    Article
     
    Phobias
    Slideshow
    woman reading medicine warnings
    Article
     
    depressed young woman
    Article
    man with arms on table
    Article
     
    veteran
    Article
    man cringing and covering ears
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections