8 Slow Down to Travel Safely
The leading cause of death in women under age 35 is accidents, mainly car accidents. And one third of all fatal crashes are due to speeding. In fact, driving over 69 mph more than doubles your risk of a fatal car accident, according to a recent Canadian study.
How to take it slow: Easing off the gas pedal is the obvious first step. But how do you fight the urge to stay in the fast lane? Practice the mindful breathing technique described in the "Slow Down to Boost Your Energy" section (page 88). Surf your radio for relaxing tunes. And remember this: If you continue to push the envelope by driving 15 mph over the speed limit, you may get pulled over for speeding, which means you'll end up being late and probably paying a hefty finenot to mention potentially thousands of dollars in higher car insurance premiums. Just force yourself to get in the car 10 to 15 minutes earlier insteadyour health is worth it.
Fast Enough For You?
Here's a snapshot of how hyper our culture has become:
- The average workweek is 47 hours up from 34 hours two decades ago.
- There's no time for home-cooked meals: Children consumed 300 percent more food from fast food restaurants in 1996 than in 1977. Not surprisingly, one-third fewer families report regularly eating together today compared with three decades ago.
- Most of us get 90 minutes less shut-eye per night than our great-grandparents did.
- Almost 28 percent fewer families take vacations now than two decades ago.
- 55 mph was the national speed limit from 1973 to 1995; now, it's 65 mph to 75 mph in most states.
Sometimes it seems like enjoying a little time off is taboo in our country: Only 14 percent of Americans will take two or more weeks of vacation this year, and the United States is currently the only industrial nation without a law to protect its citizens' vacation times. But these workaholic ways are taking a toll on our well-being. "Americans are burned out. We have no time to rest and recuperateand it's not healthy," says Lisa Stuebing, executive director of Take Back Your Time, an ongoing major U.S./Canadian initiative to combat the epidemic of overwork and overscheduling in North America. Research shows that people need at least two weeks' worth of vacation time to recover from the burnout that can lead to chronic stress. The Take Back Your Time campaign aims to guarantee those two weeks for all American workers with The Leave Protection, Family Bonding, and Personal Restoration Act, a bill that calls for a minimum of three weeks paid vacation. For more information, visit timeday.org.