Easter weekends in New Zealand usual mean two things: inclement weather and traffic jams as holidaymakers head away on Thursday and then return on Monday afternoon.
A friend told me that last Easter it took her family nine hours, as opposed to four, to drive from Auckland to Taupo. Most of that time was stopped outside of Huntly, where the passing lane merged — with a screaming toddler in the car.
To help you cope with commutes home on Monday, here is some advice from an American traffic psychologist, Dwight Hennessy.
“Time urgency — or realising that the trip you thought would take 20 minutes is, instead, heading toward 45 minutes — is one of the main predictors of stress,” he said.
Hennessy reckons that for many drivers, a sense of control is important, so when stuck in heavy congestion, “the majority of us can suspend our need for control”.
“However, that’s not the case for everyone, and some people behave in unproductive ways, such as honking, or even dangerous ones, such as weaving in and out of lanes, to regain their sense of control,” he says.
And to cope with such drivers, Hennessy says you shouldn’t take it personally.
“Other people are going to do stupid things on the road. Get ready for it,” Hennessy said. “But instead of thinking of that other driver as an idiot and carrying that anger around with you, try to forgive others’ transgressions.”
Easier said than done when you’re stuck on the side of the road with a screaming toddler. Just ask my friend.