Opinion: Amid surging traffic fatalities, a call for mindful driving

Driving “mindfully” is key to lowering the risk of being injured or killed in a crash caused by another driver, according to an opinion piece by Jay Winsten and Ariana Huffington.

Writing in the January 25, 2022 Globe and Mail, Winsten, director of the Initiative on Media Strategies for Public Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, noted that traffic fatalities in the U.S. have sharply increased during the pandemic, even though there are far fewer vehicles on the road. Traffic deaths rose 7.2% in 2020, to 38,680, and surged by another 18.4% in only the first six months of 2021. “Perhaps drivers are venting their pent-up anger and frustration about life under COVID-19 by letting it rip on the road,” Winsten and Huffington wrote.

The co-authors recommending practicing mindful driving to protect yourself and your passengers, noting that putting our phones down is one of the most important things we can do. “Avoid your own distractions, stay vigilant, scan the road for surprises, check the body language of other vehicles, try to anticipate how a situation might evolve, and be ready to react,” they wrote.

Read the Globe and Mail opinion piece: Heads-Up for Dangerous Drivers: practice mindful driving and concentrate on the road

Learn more

What it will take to stop distracted driving (Harvard Chan School news)

Project Look Out: A Campaign to Stop Distracted Driving (Center for Health Communication)