Most of what we write about here focuses on mindfulness as it relates to being focused at work or being more attentive in relationships. Being mindful, however, can literally save your life.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has estimated that distracted driving causes nine deaths and 1,153 injuries every day in the U.S. alone. Although not all of these accidents result from technology (some involve eating or applying makeup), many of them do. Although no one would ever consciously choose to take a life or injure someone in order to read a text message, this is exactly what happens many thousands of times every year.
Many people may assume that taking “just a second” to glance down at a smartphone can’t be dangerous. If you are one of those people, or know someone who is, you may wish to watch one or more of the following videos, although please be warned that these contain disturbing and graphic imagery:
- “From One Second to the Next,” a documentary on the consequences of distracted driving by director Werner Herzog.
- AT&T public service announcement as part of the company’s “It Can Wait” campaign.
- U.K. public service announcement about the dangers of texting while driving.
I don’t know of any empirical evidence linking mindfulness practice with mindful driving, but whether or not there is such evidence, there is no question that we should all keep in mind the horrors of distracted driving every time we get behind the wheel of a car so that we can be as mindful as possible while driving.