Women and Wheels: Mindful Driving – Keeping Your Mind on the Road

By Victoria Steer

According to Transport Canada’s National Collision Database, distracted driving contributed to over 20% of Canada’s fatal auto accidents and nearly 30% of serious injury collisions in a single recent year. Our contributor shows us how mindfulness can help turn those terrible statistics around.

Driving can be quite tedious and exhausting particularly when a driver has to spend many hours behind the wheel over long distances. Being alert and mindful as one drives is not only essential but can help to save lives.  Driving mindfully is a strategy that drivers can engage to help with improving health and safety practices when having to drive long distances.  

Spending days, weeks, and even months on the open road is practically the life of long-haul truckers. Their vehicle is not only their source of income, but serves as a temporary home as well.

 “Find a job you enjoy doing and you will never work a day in your life” – Mark Twain. 

Many who engage in the occupation of driving love and enjoy it.  The nature of the job, however, can be characterized by loneliness, social isolation, depression, occupational stress, substance misuse, and health-related issues among others. Driving mindfully is a practice that can help to bring some joy to the occupation.

The Center for Health and Communication at the Harvard School of Public Health, published an article on practicing mindful driving.  The writers mentioned studies have shown that when a driver’s mind is focused on non -driving related activities, the driver’s brain may not react to what the eyes see on the road ahead. In essence, a distracted driver may be looking straight ahead but fails to see what is in direct view.  The article refers to this as “inattention blindness.” 

As a driver, there have been countless times when travelling a familiar stretch of road that I did not realize I had passed particular landmarks until quite a distance ahead and at that point wondering when did I get here, or asking myself, at what point did I pass a particular place? This typically happens when the mind is not where the body is at the same point in time. It’s therefore imperative that a driver seeks to be present as much as possible, and mindful driving can help in that regard.   

Mindful driving is being present, alert, and aware during the process of operating a vehicle. The following is a guide to help a driver practice mindful driving. 

  1. Start by taking five deep breaths
  2. Notice the rhythm of your breath as you breathe at a normal pace
  3. Focus on what is on your mind
  4. Give yourself permission to set aside any thoughts 
  5. Notice the vehicle in front of you 
  6. Glance at whatever vehicle is behind you
  7. Notice the speed at which you are driving
  8. Shift your body gently in your seat 
  9. Notice sensations from the vibration of the vehicle in your hands and feet
  10. Check in with sensations in your shoulders, back, stomach, thighs etc., and relax each 
  11. Check rearview mirrors
  12. Notice vehicle(s) if any, that pass by you
  13. Notice the terrain as it passes you by
  14. Notice the rhythm of your breath

Repeat and continue this process as necessary particularly if you are feeling weary and fatigued.  

Mindfulness helps you to be more focused and aware of your surroundings and what is happening within your body.  It helps with relaxation and stress reduction, and can be quite helpful for drivers who have to spend lengthy periods on the road. So, choose safety always, be cautious and minimize risks.  Be mindful during your travels because the job you do is important to us all.


Feldscher, A. K. G. (2022, May 3). Heads-up for safety: Practice mindful driving. Center for Health Communication. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/chc/2022/01/27/heads-up-for-safety-practice-mindful-driving/

Vivica Steer holds an M.A. in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University, NB and a B.A. in uidance and Counselling – minor; Applied Behaviour Analysis, from Jamaica Theological Seminary, Kingston, Jamaica. 

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