Summer road safety

Expert recommends 'mindful driving' during deadliest driving month of the year

August 9, 2017
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VANCOUVER—According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), August is the most dangerous month of the year to drive with a 15 percent increase in road fatalities. The increase is largely due to more people getting behind the wheel to visit friends and family during the popular holiday month.

With distracted driving attributing to 80 percent of all vehicle collisions (NHTSA 2009), we could all benefit from ‘mindful driving’ says Dr. Geoff Soloway, co-founder of MindWell-U, a mindfulness and mental health consultancy based in Vancouver, Canada.

“To help keep a driver’s focus on the road, instead of on the kids fighting in the back seat, planning where to stop for lunch, or anticipating all the fun awaiting at the destination, I suggest doing a Take 5 instead,” says Soloway. “This short ‘mindfulness-in-action’ practice can be done anytime and anywhere, even behind the wheel.”

Take 5 is the core mindfulness practice taught in MindWell-U’s online 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge. The challenge has been studied by researchers at UBC’s Sauder School of Business and is proven to increase focus and attention while reducing stress and increasing performance and resilience. The training is only five to 10 minutes a day and everyone gets to take it with a buddy of their choice.

“The steps to Take 5 are simple and designed to get people ‘out of their heads’, off autopilot and into the moment whether they’re delivering a speech, operating heavy machinery or driving a car,” says Soloway.

The steps to Take 5 are:

  1. Feel your seat in the chair (feet on the floor)
  2. Notice something new (colour, texture, sound, vibration, etc)
  3. Take one deep breath
  4. Take four more deep breaths
  5. Notice now

Based in Vancouver, Canada, MindWell-U develops evidence-based e-mental health tools for organizations and individuals.