How can mindfulness be part of Road Safety?

Mindfulness is a concept that has grown in popularity over the last few years. Whether it is to assist with sleeping, anxiety or stress; it is a growing phenomenon.

Additionally, the advances in technology and the development of wellbeing apps makes mindfulness even more accessible to everyone.

Everyone every day in some shape or form will encounter the need to use roads, whether it is as a motorist, pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist or even as a horse rider. How can we incorporate mindfulness into road safety for all?

How to be a mindful driver

As a driver, it can be very stressful trying to get from A to be B because of traffic or you are simply running late. Here are a few things to consider next time you step into the car:-

  • Silence – turn off the radio, the latest Spotify playlist or audiobook. This will allow your mind to concentrate on your driving and your surroundings which in turn will make you more alert. The other benefit is that it gives you some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
  • Slow Down – it can be tempting when stuck in traffic, poor conditions on the road or behind a slow driver to get agitated and angry. This can leave you feeling stressed by the time you reach your destination as well as increase the likelihood of an accident.
  • Breathe – Instead of rushing off when you get into your car to start your journey, take a minute before you turn on the engine and take a breath. Get comfortable and ensure you are in the right mind set before you set off.

How to be a more mindful pedestrian

Now, let’s take a look at the other side of the coin, the pedestrian:

  • Switch off – similarly with drivers, pedestrians are often distracted by gadgets looking down at their phones whilst walking and not paying attention to where they are going. Switch off your phone, or put it away whilst walking. This will allow you to enjoy the walk that you are on and admire your surroundings ensuring that you arrive safely at your destination.
  • Awareness – making sure that you are aware of what is around you, watching out for uneven surfaces, broken pavements, steps, uncovered manholes and cracks on paths to avoid tripping.
  • Slow down – whilst you might be annoyed at the person in front of you walking so slow as if they have nowhere, instead try turning your attention to walking at a slower pace and being aware of what is around you. The old adage ‘more haste less speed’ avoids the risk of an accident.

Last year, CIRAS, Abellio and the University of Southampton carried out a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training course for bus drivers. As a result the drivers have reported no longer being bothered by other road users cutting them up. They were able to ‘let go’. Now, isn’t that something we would all like to do? So next time you are driving or walking, try and be more mindful and we might just enjoy the journey and arrive at our destination less stressed.

If you have any questions about the above or require any further information, please contact the one of the team on 01483 543210.