Learning how to be a mindful driver isn’t difficult. Laws and regulations such as FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) Distracted Driving Regulations have been implemented as an attempt to reduce the incidence of distracted driving by regulating some of the causes. The NHTSA stated that distracted driving led to more than 3,000 fatalities in 2020. However, the toll is much higher when you consider not all distracted driving crashes lead to deaths. Think about this: 324,652 people were hurt in distracted driving crashes in 2020.

How to Be a Mindful Driver

Mindful Drivers Are:

Rested 

Would you drive after consuming several adult beverages? Why not? Inebriated driving is an obvious distraction. Alcohol alters thinking and slows the brain. So does the lack of rest. You shouldn’t drive in either altered state.

Prepared 

Remember Driver’s Ed? What were the first things your instructor taught you to do when you got behind the wheel? Check mirrors, set the seat, fasten the seat belt—be prepared before you start the engine.

Clear-minded

Leaving emotional issues, projects, and problems at the door will clear your mind for the task at hand.

Vigilant

Mindful drivers are aware of their surroundings; they drive ahead and never have to tell a law enforcement officer, “I didn’t see him.”

Calm

Driving America’s highways isn’t a competition. It’s not NASCAR. It should never be a source of anger. In its single-mindedness, road rage may be the worst driving distraction of all. I remember a story about a local teenager being clocked at 135 MPH because he was mad at another driver. Thank goodness he was stopped by law enforcement.

Cautious 

Driving cautiously isn’t only being aware of traffic and road conditions but adjusting driving accordingly. Not dangerously slow, such as 35 in a 55 MPH, but at a speed fitting the conditions. Once, I drove from southern Indiana to Indianapolis in an ice storm. Ice and sleet covered the highway for most of the trip. In my younger days, I would’ve pushed the car and my abilities to the limit, endangering myself and others. I averaged less than 40 MPH. We arrived safe and sound.

Undistracted

Yep, mindful drivers don’t text and drive; they aren’t on the phone and only check their Facebook updates once parked.

If you want to be a mindful driver and not a statistic, it’s simple: keep your mind on driving. Driving isn’t an activity that should be shared with part of your consciousness; it takes your entire mind and concentration to avoid disaster. The next time you’re behind the wheel, be mindful of mindful driving.

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Photo by Jan Baborák on Unsplash