During the holidays, you could end up doing more driving than usual. You’ll likely be visiting family and friends you haven’t seen in a while who live a bit of a drive away. On the other hand, maybe you’ve planned a family vacation out of state and are going to need to drive thousands of miles to get there.
Long car rides can be tedious for both the driver and the passengers. If you have kids, especially, you may want to keep the complaints to a minimum and keep them engaged. Long car rides can create opportunities for learning more about yourselves and one another. Continue reading to discover opportunities for bonding and learning during long holiday drives.
Improve Your Driving
No matter how many years you’ve been driving, there’s always room for improvement as it’s easy to pick up bad habits along the way. You want to rid yourself of bad driving habits, considering that 1.25 million people die worldwide in car crashes every year. If you are foolish enough to read this while driving, please stop now.
If you have teenagers learning how to drive, this is another incentive to improve your habits as they’ll be watching you. If you tend to speed, for instance, you’ll want to start keeping that in check, especially when driving with them as speeding is a common cause of accidents among teens.
Another negative habit to avoid is drugged driving. This refers to driving while under the use of substances like marijuana or prescription drugs. Although marijuana has been legalized in a number of states, it’s still entirely illegal to drive while under the influence. It can not only put you at risk, but can also be a safety hazard for your family too. Wintertime is also common for illness and taking medicines and prescriptions to get you feeling better, so it’s important to know how these medicines affect you before you drive while taking them. Aside from speeding and being under the influence while driving, avoid distractions like texting or talking on the phone too.
Before going for long drives, don’t forget to get your eyes tested. Some common eye problems that could affect your driving are 20-20 vision, near-sightedness and far-sightedness. Your vision should be up to par when you’re driving so that you don’t miss a beat. Even if you have good vision, take breaks when you feel your vision becoming blurry. You should also make an eye test something that the entire family does periodically.
While some family car rides are full of chatter, others may be tense or awkward. Think about how you can set a vibrant atmosphere and get everyone to communicate as it’s a way to bond. This doesn’t mean every moment of silence has to be filled, but take advantage of the fact that you’re all in one place. This isn’t something that may happen often, especially if you’re a busy family.
A way to get everyone to communicate would be to assign tasks to everyone in the car. You can give them the responsibility of giving you directions so they’re helping you and learning effective communication in the process. If you have kids with autism, collaboration is a good way to make them feel included and useful.
You can also bond through communication by getting them to critique your driving. If they have phones or tablets they can compile a list of safe driving habits and remind you of them as you drive. You could even spark interesting conversations by getting each person to choose their own topics of interest. Discuss things such as what it would be like to have a self- driving car or what their favorite holiday memories are.
Some of the best experiences are born out of spontaneity, so consider stopping to do some sight-seeing along the way. It’s a chance to learn more about the world around you and see historic places and structures. This can create unique experiences for your family and increase your knowledge too. Being a tourist in your hometown could be as simple as stopping to eat at a new restaurant or taking a walk around an unfamiliar neighborhood.
Learn About Each Other
Arguably, one of the greatest things about holiday driving with family is that it’s a chance for bonding and intimacy. You can have conversations without distractions that you may be present when you’re in your everyday setting. Make the most of this by actively listening, asking questions and getting to know more about your loved one’s opinions, likes, and dislikes. Whether you’re a tight-knit family or not, there is always an opportunity to reaffirm your love for one another.
It’s also crucial to note that long rides can make people become impatient or irritable. Be patient with one another and address any disagreements in the most positive way you can. If it’s a long drive, you don’t want to waste time arguing as it could spoil the mood.
Holiday driving doesn’t have to be long and tedious. It can be an enlightening experience for everyone who comes, especially if you approach it with an open mind. See it as a chance to bond in a new way and hopefully, return home with a better relationship.