How to be A Driving Yogi

by | Jul 2, 2024 | Legal

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They key to driving defensively and responsibly in Texas is the ability to relax and pay attention to what is around you. Defensive driving is a skill that requires patience, as well as relenting and giving up the desire to “fight traffic” and get to wherever you are going as fast as you possibly can. 

One of the causes of behaviors on the road that usually ends in someone seeking the services of an Austin personal injury attorney is rooted in the premise that one must fight, or do battle, with traffic. Every stop sign is an enemy. If you are driving the speed limit, the guy behind you who is tailgating you is an enemy. If you are late for an appointment, the guy driving too slowly in front of you whom you are tailgating is an enemy. If traffic is thick and slow, you are surrounded by hundreds of enemies. And not only do you feel this way, but everyone else around you feels this way, as if each one is isolated and surrounded by enemies.

Surrounded by enemies, the fight or flight instinct surfaces with rage. People make obscene signs at each other that they would not make anywhere else, curse and scowl, call strangers names, shake their heads and fists, and become filled with volatile emotions that are exhausting and useless. This is why many people consider driving to be a tiring experience – it is like being involved in a war, and one that too often ends with severe injuries, ultimately won or lost in a courtroom using the services of an Austin personal injury attorney to help recover damages. But when we are mindful, we are not, as the poet Thich Nhat Hanh suggests, “…always thinking of arriving.” Rather, we can experience the joy of being where we are in the present moment, which brings peace rather than rage.

It’s still possible to be involved in an accident and suffer injuries even when one is a mindful, defensive driver, in which case an Austin personal injury attorney can represent our interests and help recover losses in court. But as we drive, the destination we can truly be seeking at each milepost is the present moment. As Thich Naht Hanh writes, “The red light is a bell of mindfulness. We may have thought of it as an enemy, preventing us from achieving our goal. But now we know the red light is our friend, helping us resist rushing and calling us to return to the present moment where we can meet with life, joy and peace.”