Most of us only think about one thing when we turn the key in the ignition: getting to where we’re going, and fast.
Driving is something most of us have to do every day. We usually take the same route, get stuck behind the same people, and have the same bad habits behind the wheel. For some, driving is a pleasure and a sport. For others, it’s a chore. But what happens if we completely change how we approach driving?
Before putting the keys in the ignition, take a few breaths to center yourself and to bring calm and clarity to your mind and heart.
Take the time to acknowledge how lucky you are. You have a car! You have a driver’s license! You have driving skills that allow you to deliver yourself from point A to point B. If you’re thankful about owning a car, and thankful about your skills as a driver, you’re more likely to drive mindfully.
If you’re distracted, emotional, or under the influence, give someone else the keys.
Driving drunk is shockingly common. So is driving with a cellphone in hand. These are behaviors that spring from the invincibility mindset. “It won’t happen to me”. “I’ve gotten away with it before”. or “I’m a good enough driver that I can pull this off.”
It takes one tiny mistake to change your life – or someone else’s life – forever. It takes a couple of seconds that you don’t see the guy on the motorcycle. You can save someone’s life by putting down the phone, or giving someone else the keys.
Place your phone in a place you can’t reach.
I’m particularly bad about wanting to DJ while I drive. My best alternative is to make myself a playlist and toss the phone in the back seat.
Texting while driving is something I see people do on the highway all the time. Traveling 80 mph, driving a 1-ton block of steel, and sharing the road with semi’s? Put the damn phone down.
Take your time. Don’t rush.
I have definitely been guilty of this. I tend to get so impatient when I get stuck behind a slow driver on a country road. I get so annoyed when someone is putzing in the left lane on the highway. But then I think: what’s the rush? If I’m late, I’m late.
I’ve started leaving my house on time so I can feel stress-free on my journeys. After all, why stress when you can leave earlier?
Your car is your sanctuary!
How great is it that we’re lucky enough to have our own space when we travel? We can listen to music, listen to our favorite radio station, or we can choose to enjoy the peace and quiet. We can decorate our cars with colorful wheels, rear-view dangles, and seat covers. It’s our own space to enjoy.
So there’s no reason to worry. Traffic jams, slow drivers, and poor weather conditions will always be a fact of life. But how will you handle what the road brings? How will you drive?