Girl drinking hot drink from Christmas cup
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Driving tips and other life stuff

5 festive driving stresses and how to deal with them

In the words of Slade - it's Christmasssssssssss!

Whether you love it or hate it, Christmas has arrived, bringing with it the joys of present giving, carol singing and of course - stressful driving.

It’s something that affects us all and yet we put ourselves through it every year, making the same mistakes again and again. BUT NOT THIS YEAR. We're getting our moans out now so we're prepared and ready to deal with them by the time those sleigh bells start a 'ringing.

  1. Parking

  2. Where to start. You spend half the festive period sat behind the wheel, crawling miserably along never-ending queues of cars - while your subconscious is gloating, "I told you we should have just got it online."

    After you've FINALLY finished charging around the shops like a headless turkey (despite ticking NOTHING off the list), you then have to deal with the stress of getting back to the car before the council fines you in gold, frankincense and myrrh.

    The queuing then continues at the pay point where hordes of tired, defeated shoppers sweat out more of their soul waiting for the dear granny in front to empty her coin purse into the machine. Breathe.

    How to deal:

    It seems obvious, but beat the crowds. Get up earlier, go at quieter times and try to park in places that the world and his wife haven't thought of. A quiet back street somewhere or a car park that's not glued to the shopping centre would save you loads of time.

    It may mean walking a bit further to the shops but it will save you time in the long run and you’ll avoid the road rage of other shoppers desperate to get out of the multistorey.

  3. Getting your gifts home in one piece

  4. You've bought some presents. Great. But you then have to face the juggle of how to get the presents home in one piece.

    The giant glass snow globe for Aunt Phillis has to be carefully positioned and strapped in to the back seat, while the bottle of Bailey's for Mum is just going to have to roll around the boot of your car. You refuse to get 5 plastic bags to wrap it in at 5p each.

    How to avoid a meltdown:

    Keep old blankets or sheets in your boot. Even better: get a load of bags-for-life. That way, when the dead-eyed shop assistant tells you they've run out of bubble wrap and you're there looking at her like how do you expect me to get 6 cut glass Champagne flutes home Sandra - you have a Plan B.

  5. Ferrying relatives

  6. If you've recently got yourself a car and you're just starting to enjoy your freedom, it won't be long until you hear a friend or relative say, "Oh, you drive now?"

    The Christmas period is crazy busy. If you can drive, you suddenly become a very useful resource to your loved ones.

    From taking your little brother to his school nativity or wheeling Great Uncle Albert home, you can just about guarantee you'll be drafted in as a family chauffeur for the whole of December.

    How to make the best of a (potentially) bad situation:

    The long and short of this is: you probably will have to give some lifts here and there over Christmas. But use it to your advantage! Think of it as extra practice for driving in new and busy locations or even get some winter driving under your belt.

    Plus, sitting in your car waiting for your mum to finish buying half of Iceland is MUCH better than being forced to watch The Snowman for the 25th time.

  7. Fitting 10 cars in the driveway

  8. NIGHTMARE. You arrive at your parents' house - all ready to snuggle up with The Grinch (not literally) - but you have to play car Tetris before you can even get out of your car.

    It's your drive! You live there! But every relative you've ever met has invaded your spot and you're left out in the cold.

    What to do:

    You have 2 options. One - get home early so you can guarantee that first parking space has your name on it. Two - arrive last so you can be the first one to escape without having to wait for 3 other members of the family to shift off the sofa.

  9. Designated driver on Christmas Day

  10. First, we salute you. If, like most of us, you have to split yourself in half over Christmas, it’s highly likely you'll need to drive yourself somewhere on Christmas day.

    Yep - the last thing you want to be doing on Christmas Day is leaving your nice warm living room and heading out to start de-icing your car. Buuuuuut unless you're prepared to pay double the taxi fare, you'll inevitably be grabbing the keys at some point.

    Of course, that means no alcohol and no snoozing off in front of the TV - especially if you have a long journey ahead. Sadly, it might just mean you have to leave before the Monopoly makes an appearance from under the stairs. Shame.

    How to stay sane:

    Make sure you've sorted out your transport there and back before the day. If you've already bribed Big Sister to give you a lift to your girlfriend's house (good luck with that one), you know that you can relax and enjoy the day in full festive mode.

    If you're driving, just remember that although the roads should be much quieter, there'll very likely be merrymakers rolling out of pubs or doing snow angels in the road, so stay alert.

    Here's how to be the best designated driver EVER.

    If none of this applies to you and your Christmas Day responsibilities consist of getting out of bed and only moving from the sofa to gather food - well, lucky you.


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Katey Joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of all things social. She passed her driving test in 2015 and her first car is a Toyota Yaris T3 named Tyrone.