Dodge Gives Tips to Avenge Your Commute
A lucky commuter was recently given a morning rush last week after his entry was selected in Dodge's "Avenge Your Commute" contest.
In recognition of National Stress Awareness Day on Tuesday, April 17, Dodge launched the "Avenge Your Commute" campaign, inviting frustrated commuters to write a 250-word essay answering the questions - "What makes your commute so stressful?" and "How would owning an all-new 2008 Dodge Avenger relieve your stress?" One man's essay about his daily commute to work with his mother-in-law was chosen as the worst commuting story from more than 1,600 entries received from around the country. For his winning essay, Joel Schneeberger of Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a trip to Los Angeles, a chance to avenge his commute and a Dodge Avenger. To avenge his commute, Dodge set up a safe environment - near Los Angeles' I-101 morning rush hour traffic - for Schneeberger to relieve his commuter stress in a fun, therapeutic way. From throwing balloons full of mud and firing a paint gun to lunging shopping carts and running over the vehicle in a Monster Truck, Schneeberger had his chance to blow off some commuter steam. Who wouldn't want to do something like that? I know I've sure thought about it when I was sitting stuck in traffic!
From the bumper-to-bumper traffic and unnecessary horns to the screeching tires and continuous break lights, many Americans are stressed out by the 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. rat race. A recent Dodge survey revealed 51 percent of Americans who live in major markets find their daily commute stressful. Of those, 62 percent experience feelings of frustration, 52 percent get in bad moods, 37 percent suffer from headaches and 28 percent experience back pain.
In addition to the essay contest, Dodge partnered with Dr. Martha Beck, internationally recognized life coach, to help commuters minimize the stress caused by the daily commute.
"When things are out of our control, such as congested, standstill traffic, our immediate reaction is to stress out. Some commuters even become more aggressive on the road when faced with a stressful situation," said Dr. Beck, a best-selling author and columnist for O, The Oprah Magazine. "To help everyone de-stress and avoid accidents on the road, there are simple techniques commuters can do while behind the wheel, but the first step is to channel your stress into positive thoughts and take deep breaths."
Tips to Keep the Commuter Stress Away
Dodge and Dr. Beck offers these simple tips to alleviate the stress that comes with battling bumper-to-bumper traffic:
* Diminish the pains in your neck, back and head - Neck pains, headaches and backaches are common results of holding muscle tension while sitting in the driver's seat. Ease these symptoms by doing small-scale "hold and release" exercises with different muscle groups.
* Press your head back against the headrest until your neck muscles are tight. Hold for a count of three, and then relax. Repeat 10 times.
* Push your shoulders down and back, so that your shoulder blades push against the seat. Hold and release 10 times.
* Learn to chill out - Stay hydrated. Dehydration causes irritability and fatigue before you actually sense thirst, so sip a chilled beverage before you're feeling parched.
* Take a breath of fresh and cold air - Blast cool air into your face from the air conditioner or roll down the window and breathe in fresh air. Your body loves the coolness and the oxygen.
* Jam in traffic - Plug in your MP3 player or find your favorite radio station. Sing along by not just humming, but pulling in large breaths and supporting your voice with your diaphragm. The music and the deep breathing are both terrific stress-busters
* Choose a lane and stay in it - Changing lanes frequently will only get you to your final destination a few seconds earlier and increases your chances of colliding with another car.
"We understand that commuting can be stressful, but also know that commuting is a part of our everyday lives and isn't going to go away," said Tom Loveless, Director - Dodge Brand Marketing and Global Communications.
The Facts of Commuting
While everyone has their own opinion on what makes a commute stressful and the best way to pass the time while commuting, the Dodge brand surveyed Americans to hear what they had to say.
* Fifty-three percent of stressed male commuters said they find their evening commute more stressful, while 52 percent of stressed women find their morning commute more stressful.
* Sixty-percent of commuters are guilty of talking on the cell phone while driving, while 37 percent said they are guilty of having a lead foot and 26 percent admitted to not using a turn signal.
* Other drivers talking on the cell phone (25 percent) is the trait that frustrates commuters the most, followed by driving slowly in the left lane (21 percent) and darting from lane to lane (17 percent).
All of this is interesting information. Regardless of whether you commute in bumper to bumper traffic, or just sit on busy city roads, it's important to keep these tips in mind to help make your driving experience a better one!
By Brandy Schaffels