The Root Cause of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has been one of the major topics at that is at the top the agenda for the Media, State, and Federal institutions, and it should be. With the latest and greatest always becoming available to the consumer people are always excited about their new shiny toys, and driving has become more of a secondary function to the importance of paying attention. However, distracted driving is so much more than that. The cell phone and fancy car gadgets are but symptoms to the main cause.

As we know, or should know, in every situation there are causes and symptoms. The cause is the root of the problem. The symptoms are everything the root of the problem affects.

The cause of distracted driving is our utter lack of mindfulness or ability to be present while behind the wheel of a car. This is due to all the distractions (i.e. symptoms) in our own world. Have you ever driven with the radio off in complete silence and wonder, did I just change lanes and not look? Did I stop at that stop sign? How did I just drive myself home? I know I have driven safely, but I ask myself these questions because I was lost in my thoughts and not truly present while I was driving.

I may have been thinking about anything that happened during my day or last week or perhaps what is going to happen tomorrow and what I need to pick up at the grocery store. The reality is I am not present while driving when I am thinking about all these different things. When I am mindful or present I am paying attention to all that is around me in that moment. It is thinking that initiates us to picking up our cell phones, changing the radio station, not using our blinker, or not hitting our breaks when the car suddenly stops in front of us and we slam into the back of them. It is thinking about other things aside from driving that distracts us and prohibits us from reaching our goal…getting from point A to point B safely.

Another component to distracted driving is the current situation we are facing when we get behind the wheel of a car. This situation can become more important than driving the car because we end up getting stuck in our heads thinking about what is going on instead. These situations can range from lack of sleep, being late for work, stuck in traffic, a fight with our partner, cannot find where you are going, the kids are screaming and demanding things from the driver, or just receiving exciting or devastating news, all which prohibit us to be present. At some point we need understand if our inability to be present and mindful is an endangerment to ourselves or others on the road. Getting from point A to point B should never take priority over peoples lives. Pulling the car over and collecting your presence of mind may be a good solution to the temporary situation of driving.

Yes, cell phones, texting, eating, reading, putting on make up, changing the radio, taking to passengers are all symptoms of distracted driving. The cause is lack of mindfulness. The ability to be mindful and objective while driving should be the first rule we learn before we can drive. We are the only ones who can make the choice to do it, but everyone’s lives we share the road with depend on this choice. Think about it the next time you get behind the wheel of your car…How mindful am I to my surroundings today, not only to the roadway and to other cars, but in my Life?

© By: Brianna McDonald October 2012

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