Zen and the art of mindful driving.
Most people aren’t crazy about driving. That’s why so many drivers are distracted behind the wheel. Bored by the task at hand, your mind goes elsewhere. You eat, text, apply make-up, and take phone calls on the road. Not smart. Multitasking might be okay at work, but it’s dangerous on the road. Become a mindful driver in these five ways.
Mindfulness will help you identify potential problems before they turn into expensive repairs.
Listen to the sounds of your vehicle. Is your engine running smoothly, or does it sound like a struggle? Are your brakes silent, or do they make a screeching noise? If something sounds wrong, see a mechanic.
It’s easy to get so absorbed in your own little world that you don’t notice anything else around you. This is harmless most of the time, but it could threaten your life on a busy highway.
Look at the vehicle in front of you. Paying attention to its movements could help you avoid a traffic accident. If the driver slams his brakes, ease off the gas pedal. If she swerves to the left or right, be prepared to do the same. You might be lucky enough to avoid a nail, pothole, or broken glass.
Most people are so attached to their smartphone that it might as well be glued to their ear. Technology is great, but don’t let it take over your life. People can wait until you’re parked in the driveway to talk to you.
Focus on driving. It’s the only thing that matters when you’re on the road. If your boss is so demanding he expects you to answer calls during rush hour traffic, find a better boss. If you can’t resist the urge to check your texts or Facebook feed, silence your phone and throw it in the backseat. Pay attention.
4. Be considerate
Forget about your own needs and wants for a second. Driving mindfully improves the safety of your passengers and fellow drivers. You will make smarter driving decisions when you listen, look, and focus.
Distracted driving doesn’t only affect you: it affects everybody else on the road. If you’re in such a hurry to check a text that you can’t wait until you get home – and rear-end a car because you weren’t focused – whose fault is that? Yours. How would you feel if your negligence got somebody hurt? Awful.
5. Look in the mirror
Everyone likes to think she is awesome at driving, but we all can’t be in the top 10% of drivers. It’s easy to be a back-seat driver when you’re the passenger. It’s harder to take an honest look at your own driving habits. But this is important: driver error is responsible for 94% of accidents.
Ouch. That means more than 9 out of 10 car wrecks have nothing to do with “bad luck” or “faulty parts.” The buck usually stops with the driver. I didn’t invent that number out of thin air. This statistic comes from a crash causation survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Feeling brave? Ask a brutally honest friend to point out driving behaviors that make them feel unsafe. You’ll be tempted to defend yourself. But don’t:bBite your tongue, keep your mouth shut, and listen with an open mind. You might learn something about yourself.
Please share this with your Facebook friends so they can find out how to be a mindful driver like you.
By Audra Fordin, owner of Great Bear Auto Repair in Queens, New York, and founder of Women Auto Know.