Quoted in Lifestyles Section, Sentinel Review, Ontario
Posted Dec 20 2008 5:57pm
I’ve been quoted in a useful article, by Joanne Richard of Sun Media, on driving with your family without driving each other crazy at holiday time. Joanne calls the holiday trip with the whole family in the car the ‘road to ruin,’ and for all too many families, it’s a good description of a bad situation.
The article suggests (and I agree)… that pre-planning a trip can give you the flexibility in the combined space that will prevent complication, persuade fellow travelers to stay calm, and help you take it easy as you’re going down the road. Planning ahead keeps you from falling behind, getting lost, or missing the moment.
Here are three things you can do to make family travel at this time of year more enjoyable:
Pre-plan activities ahead of time, so everyone has something to do. Increasingly, you can get DVD players and iTouch games for the kids, and headphones for anyone who wants to tune out for awhile. And you don’t have to go high tech in order to persuade kids to stay calm. Even a simple coloring book, or puzzles, can keep people occupied or distracted enough to not notice every single mile that goes by.
2. Make Frequent Stops:
It’s counter-intuitive, but it works. Like opening the window to let the air in and the exhaust out, letting everyone out to stretch and move about creates more space in the car when you start driving again.
I have memories from my childhood of battling it out with my siblings in the back seat while my Dad plowed ahead, determined to cover as much ground as possible in the least amount of time. ”Ooh, ooh, can we stop and see the aligators?” ”No!” he would say, and we’d watch the opportunity slip away through the back window. ”Can we stop for an ice cream?” ”No,” he would say, hell-bent on getting where we were going on time. What else could we do, except annoy, hit, yell, argue, tickle without mercy and pinch with pleasure to make the time go by.
That’s no way to get where you’re going. Stop, and then go. Stop and then go. And you’ll get there almost as fast, and definitely in a better mood.
3. Give Rewards:
There has to be some way everyone gets to win when you arrive at your destination. Let people pick prizes, including you, and you’ll find more motivation makes for a happier ride.
One last item, if you’re driving anywhere this holiday.
There is nothing that makes drivers dumber (other than booze and drugs) than rushing. You know that saying ‘haste makes waste’? It’s true. It’s true in communication, it’s true in persuasion, it’s true in conflict resolution, and it’s true in traveling in a car with others. And the ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure is leave early. If you have trouble leaving early, plan to leave even earlier, so that even if you’re running late, you’re still leaving early. The less pressure you feel behind the wheel, the more flexible and creative you’ll be in dealing with whatever the travel brings up.
Travel safely. I’m heading back from my vacation tomorrow, and driving home on Friday. And I am taking my own advice.