16 October, 2018
Busy is very much a buzz word for our modern lives – with work, play, home, friends, family and always being connected by our digital devices.
It takes practice to quieten the noise, but it doesn’t have to be time consuming. Even whole heartedly focusing on the task in front of you is a form a mediation called ‘getting into the flow’.
And that means that even when you’re driving, you can take a break from the busy and get into the flow zone.
If you are focused on what’s happening behind the wheel, you are also less likely to be distracted – you’re less likely to miss a traffic light, not notice oncoming traffic or accidentally speed, all things that can lead to serious crashes.
So instead of driving distracted or on autopilot, follow these tips to keep your focus on the road where it belongs.
Organise before you drive
Multitasking in the car is a recipe for disaster – even neuroscience says that we can’t do it
Set up your GPS route, take note of where your most important items are, and make sure everything is in its right place.
If you’re travelling with children or pets ensure they’re securely fastened and place anything they might need within their reach so you’re not tempted to turn around to the back seat when driving.
Check your mirrors, seat, sound system, and air conditioning settings, too, so you don’t fiddle with them on the road.
Put your phone away
Phones are a massive distraction that will definitely keep you out of the zone. But while it’s one thing to be distracted by your phone when sitting on the train, using your phone while driving is illegal and dangerous.
Even if you have your phone safely out of reach when driving, if you hear messages ping through, your brain will automatically shift to thinking about what that message might be. So, don’t let it be a distraction at all.
Many phones have a function where you can switch on ‘driving mode’, which prevents notifications from popping up. If your phone doesn’t have that option, turn on ‘do not disturb’ to silence texts and calls.
Eyes on the road
Driving might not be your typical way to relax, but it can be a way to unwind.
When you’re focused only on driving, you’re more likely to be calm and in control, giving you the right headspace to make good driving decisions.
Focus on the singular task of driving by turning down the radio, telling passengers to quieten down, and waiting until you’ve got where you are going before eating or drinking.
Each time you find your attention wandering from the road, gently bring it back to the road and the task at hand.
Being mindful will also help you be more aware of how you are feeling. Fatigue can really lower your reaction time and cause you to lose focus, so if you notice you are getting tired, stop and take a rest.
Be the example you want to be
Young passengers can be a great way to remember to stay focused. Children mimic parents in many ways both expected and unexpected, and that includes future driving habits. If they see you texting and eating when driving, then you normalise that behaviour for them.
The simplest way to provide a good example is to be a good example. So breathe, focus, and enjoy your drive.
Last updated October 2018
You're four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone while driving.
We're calling on all WA drivers to make the choice to put away their phones and other devices and stay focused on the drive.
Look up, WA.