On 23 October 2019, late in the evening, I was in a front passenger seat while my 17-year-old daughter on her learner licence took on a driver seat. I sit with my eyes wide open, breathing rhythmically through my nose, focused on anchoring my mind in the present moment. Silently, cognizing breath comes and leaves, fully aware of surroundings and route.
As we began to negotiate a right turn on the green light, halfway through the intersection, my eyes snap wide open. White colour small compact car storming at us head-on at 70km/h with less than milliseconds to respond. I first scrambled to gather my senses and in split second, I made some choices. Such as I squeeze my right-hand palm between my daughter’s head and steering, embracing my foot on the floor and left hand on the dashboard firmly, thinking of passengers in the other car, making a necessary call to ambulance, police, home, and office and most importantly help my daughter deal with her first accident just before the sound of collision that shook us and left other drivers, visibly shaken.
The white small compact car was beyond recognition, thankfully we had very little damage to our 4-wheel drive. immediately I attended my daughter, stepped out of the car to help other drivers, check on injuries, and made a call to authority. To my surprise, or a coincidence a tow truck arrived well before the ambulance and police. Immediately took responsibility and apologised generously for what has happened, exchanged licence details and fortunately no one was seriously hurt.
Thankfully my 25 plus years of meditation practice had finally proved to me that we can learn to stay calm during unexpected raging situations. At first, it may seem impossible but by training yourself to remain in the present moment, you train yourself to avoid unconscious thinking. This frees up a great deal of energy, in other words by anchoring the mind in the present moment I was able to avoid having unwanted clutter, allowing the brain to execute several thoughts in that moment with absolute clarity becoming more creative and effective to have more mental firepower left for planning, figuring out next steps, and solving problems.
It’s as if time and space for me to execute those important decisions in split-second had expanded or in other words, everything was unfolding in slow motion while the brain was functioning at normal speed. By being fully in the present moment, you can tap into a deeper intelligence within yourself.
Whether your commute is 15 minutes or hours, every day presents us with fulfilling experiences you can tap into along the way:
Enjoy Safe Driving!
Dreaming of driving interstate in your newly acquired car? Or perhaps you're planning to drive your friends to the beach for the day, when you're in the driver's seat, you'll want to be well prepared.
Plan your trip ahead. Planning your trip ahead of time and delegating navigation to one of your friendly passengers will make your trip effortless and lovable. A useful rule of thumb is that leaving 15 minutes earlier can be a reliable approach for any situation. Check your basic safety supplies such as a first aid kit, spare tyre and correct air pressure in all tyres. To learn what your tire pressure should be, look for your manufacturer's recommendation, which is printed on a label inside your car, a tank full of fuel, contact details for your roadside assistance (if you have one), and a good night's sleep.
Always stay focused. Try not to let friendly conversation or your mobile phone distract you. Know the rules. Although you'll want to keep your mobile phone handy for emergencies, avoid accessing it while you drive. Not only does it interfere with your concentration, but it may also get you a ticket. Most important, pull over and take a break if you feel sleepy or drowsy. Studies show that fatigue, circadian rhythm, sleep debt, sleep inertia and microsleeps is a major cause of car crashes. Driving while feeling sleepy or drowsy can affect a driver's judgment as much as alcohol or drugs can.
Stick to speed limits. It's easy to lose track of speed limits with the music cranking and suddenly find you're over the limit. If you go over the speed limit, even by a few kms/hr you can be booked, and it could put your licence at risk. Plus, speeding penalties can run a couple of hundred dollars. You'd be considered a reliable and risk-free driver doing 5-10kms under the speed limit.
Know your licence conditions. Safer limits build confidence. If you are on your provisional P1 or P2, special licence conditions apply. These include speed restrictions passenger numbers, vehicle type, zero blood alcohol, and laws against using mobile phones. All learner and provisional drivers must clearly display their L and P plates on the front and back of the outside of the vehicle – the letters must not be hidden.
When you begin to develop an understanding of vehicle dynamics and safe driving habits, you begin to appreciate the benefits of defensive driving. You're prepared and ready to take action and not put your fate in the hands of other drivers.
Following these defensive driving tips can help reduce risk and help you progress in obtaining a driver’s licence:
Invest in taking a defensive driving course to help sharpen your driving knowledge and skills, it’s worth the investment to be a smarter, safer driver.
Safe driver academy!
10 April 2021
As a low-risk driver, you can avoid crashes and reduce your risk behind the wheel.
Driving safe on a road can be a lifelong learning journey. Most driving programs are designed for teens to meet different learner needs, build experience, and map the learning programs to competency standards and other relevant criteria. If you've been out driving on the big city roads, you know that not everyone is playing by the rule — but most people think they do.
There is an element of careless driving, driving aggressively, being absent-minded. Some wander into another lane because they are on phone or not paying attention, others may surprise you or get you agitated by following too closely, improper or erratic lane changing, weave in and out of traffic before you know it and the list goes on.
Influence from alcohol, drugs and aggressive drivers are known road hazards, causing one-third of all traffic crashes. But negligent or distracted driving is becoming more of a problem as drivers are multitasking by talking on the phone, texting, checking messages, drinking or eating, as they drive.
We can't control or predict the actions of other drivers on the road but investing in a structured and defensive driving skills program can help you avoid the dangers caused by other people's actions and bad driving. Clearly, the experience gained as a driver transition to full license will affect his/her ongoing risk management, hazard assessment and driving safety.
Skills That Put You in Control
Before you get on a pilot seat, here are some tips to help you stay in control:
Begin with mindfulness and stay focused. Leave your thoughts and conflicts behind the door before you step into your car. Take 3 deep breaths to empty your mind from unwanted thoughts and be fully present in the moment. Driving is primarily a thinking task, and you have a lot of things to think about when you're behind the wheel: road conditions, your speed and position, observing traffic laws, signs, signals, road markings, following directions, being aware of the cars around you, checking your mirrors — the list goes on. Having a free mind with help you stay focused on driving — and only driving — is critical to safe driving.
Everyone who uses roads to drive, ride or walk has a responsibility to share the road with others. By respecting the needs of all road users, you can help make roads safer for everyone.
Avoid any distractions, such as mobile phone, drinking or eating, looking away for extended period make a driver less able to see potential problems and properly react to them. It's not just teen drivers who are at fault: People who have been driving for a while can get overconfident in their driving abilities and let their driving skills get sloppy. All drivers need to remind themselves to stay focused.
Plan Ahead. Plan your trip before you step out and avoid leaving last minute. Impatience and urgency, both are contributing risk factors to potential crash risk. Keep a safe distance of three seconds behind the vehicle ahead. Be sure you are in the proper lane well in advance of your exit or turning locations. This will help you avoid making quick and dangerous lane changes.
Stay alert. Being alert (not sleepy or distracted) allows you to react quickly to potential hazards. Two types of Hazards should be recognized by a continuous process of watching your surroundings and then taking actions to reduce risks. Fixed hazards are permanent conditions such as restricted vision areas such as curves, hills and hidden driveways, intersections and merging whereas variable hazards changes throughout the day including pedestrians, school children and changing weather conditions. A driver's reaction time and good judgment can prove positive. Driving is never risk-free. A good driver has good observation, speed management and road positioning skills.