There’s a lot of talk lately about how practicing mindfulness can make people more productive and peaceful. Being more mindful can also help you combat distracted driving. Whether it’s a buzzing cell phone or kids in the backseat, distracted driving is an issue we all deal with. (How many times have you arrived at your destination after a long day and wondered, “How did I get here?”)
By incorporating mindfulness, drivers can take a few simple steps to minimize distractions and keep everyone a little bit safer.
How to Minimize Distractions While Driving
While we can never eliminate all distractions when behind the wheel, there are a few simple steps we can take to minimize their occurrence and become more mindful and attentive drivers.
- Put it away: Simply put the smartphone away. Keep it in the purse, briefcase or backpack while driving. Out of sight will be out of mind. If we don’t see or hear the notification, we won’t feel tempted to reach for the phone.
- Secure items: Reaching for unsecured and loose items that have fallen out of the seat is another distraction culprit. Never travel with unrestrained pets and store bags securely before departing.
- Use Bluetooth® and hands-free features: If you must make the call, or adjust the navigation settings, use voice commands so that eyes and hands can remain on the task of driving.
- Adjust systems while stopped: Turn on the kids’ entertainment system, adjust the climate control, or set the GPS before starting to drive while the car is still safely parked.
- Remind the kids: Let them know that mom or dad need to focus on driving, and any requests must to be made before we leave, or wait until after we arrive.
- Set the example: Parents need to set the example for their kids and teen drivers. If we don’t want our kids texting and driving, we can’t be doing it ourselves.
- Speak up: If we see our spouse or friend reach for their phone while driving, speak up and remind them it can wait.
- Give yourself time: Allow enough time to make the trip without needing to rush.
- Take moments of mindfulness: When you’re sitting at a stop light, don’t automatically reach for your phone. Take a moment to breathe and pay attention. You’ll be more relaxed as you drive, and more aware of the world around you, so you can make better decisions on the road.
Driving mindfully can help us be safer on the roads, but it’s more than that. By slowing down and taking the time to focus on driving, we’ll be more aware of the journey. We spend so much time in our cars, why not enjoy the ride?
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