Mindfulness driving

By Melissa Martin

It’s that time again. Another summer is gone. And school starts soon. Cars, buses, and vehicles will fill the streets and roads in Scioto County.

DRIVE LIKE YOUR KIDS LIVE HERE. That’s a poignant sign I’ve seen in a few yards. The mindfulness movement needs to move into the driving arena. Why? Because children are our most precious cargo.

I’ve witnessed school buses barreling by full of students; teen drivers speeding by after school like the public road was a racetrack; and adults driving so fast the wind swooshed the leafs. I’m tempted to stand outside before and after school hours to videotape license plates.

According to AAA, every fall, over 55 million children across the United States head back to school. With 13 percent of those children typically walking or biking to their classes, AAA warns drivers to be especially vigilant for pedestrians before and after school hours. The afternoon hours are particularly dangerous – over the last decade, nearly one in four child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Launched in 1946, AAA’s School’s Open – Drive Carefully awareness campaign was created as a way to help reduce child pedestrian fatalities and injuries. AAA offers safety information for children, including coloring pages, games and car seat safety videos, at SafeSeats4Kids.AAA.com.

Talk to your teen and keep talking. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and nearly one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Get evidence-based guidance and tips at TeenDriving.AAA.com.

A car can be a weapon in the hands of an aggressive teenager who drives too fast and doesn’t respect the power of a vehicle. Or a teen that texting while driving.

According to the National Safety Council “School days bring congestion: School buses are picking up their passengers, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, harried parents are trying to drop their kids off before work. It’s never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school… According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they’re walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus.” www.nsc.org.

According to a recent study by Safe Kids Worldwide, approximately 100 children in the United States are killed every year while walking to or from school, and 25,000 others sustain injuries as

According to FOX 8 Cleveland news (July 18, 2019), Daila Wilson, 18, of Euclid, Ohio pleaded no contest to failing to stop after an accident, driving left of center, passing a stopped school bus and reckless operation. She was charged with hitting two boys while passing their stopped school bus.

What is mindfulness? A mind that is fully attending to what’s happening now, to what you’re doing now, and to the space you’re moving through now.

What is mindfulness driving? Paying attention to driving without distractions. And when you become distracted you immediately go back to being aware of the road and how you are interacting with the road. No texting or eating while driving. You are looking and listening. You are focusing on the moment and what’s happening in the moment.

The opposite of mindfulness is being in autopilot mode. That’s when you do things that you’ve done before without focusing. Driving requires skill and attention.



By Melissa Martin