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Driving: The Miracle Cure?

Published on Thu, May 14, 2020

By: Collin Morgan

During COVID-19 isolation, there's one thing that'll help us all keep our sanity: drive therapy.

I love to drive, and by your interest in this article, I’m assuming you do too. It’s the ultimate escape; a place to sort out thoughts and ease your mind from the daily tribulations in our lives. It makes us happy. It’s more than a commute, it’s a cruise. Each of us have our favorite routes to take that contain g-force-beckoning corners, stunning vistas, or a sentimental spot. 

During COVID-19, being out-and-about is largely frowned upon. But why does that include cruising? 

Admittedly, I’ve done my fair share of driving around. To be frank, I’m bored of my house. One can only stare into an empty fridge or pace around a living room so much before getting antsy. That’s me. I’m antsy. And that’s why I drive.

In this article from ScienceNews, a study conducted showed 34% of people under extended quarantine reported high levels of psychological distress. That’s nearly triple the amount of psychological distress in people NOT under quarantine, which was 12%. In a broad scope, that is a massive amount of stressed out people. 

A refresher of the outside world can help. Seeing the Home Depot open, or even other traffic can help people disconnect from ‘the world is ending and I’m alone’ fear. That’s why being able to drive is crucial.

We’ve heard stories about folks who’ve left their home in Arcadia to pick up dinner… in Huntington Beach. That’s almost an hour, in each direction! By the time the food is to go on the table, it will most definitely need a zap in the microwave. But hey, I get it, the 605 - with no traffic! - is a great place to just drive, even if it’s only a jungle of on- and off-ramps. I hope they also got a peek of the ocean - maybe a sunset? - before they headed back to Arcadia.

Another relieving aspect of cruising is control. While we have no control over the pandemic, or its effects, we do have control over our vehicles. We can dictate which roads we take and the length of a trip. It’s important to remember our connection to the outside world: our cars. 

So, go out for that evening cruise. It’ll help clear your mind and replace dread with wonder. Take that backroad you always skip, maybe you’ll find something worth researching when you get back home. See the other people out and about, whether they’re essential workers or cruisers like you. Remember that we’re all in this together, you’re not alone. 

Driving won’t cure COVID-19, but it just might give us the hope we need to make it through. 

Co-authored by John-Fredrik Wright.

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