The Zen of Driving

Teaching Your Future Drivers What Calm Motoring is All About

Patience, it’s said, is a virtue. This phrase has been attributed to poet William Langland. It’s unlikely that Will himself ever had to apply that philosophy to driving, considering it was written in 1360, long before the advent of road rage, or even roads.

Patience is also a necessity while driving, although it’s put to the test when fighting morning sun glare headed east on Route 3 or any given Saturday in Paramus. And that’s doubled if you’re driving with kids in the car.

A game of “I Spy” only lasts so long on long road trips after all the iPhones die 10 minutes after leaving the house. So what’s a modern driver to do to regain a sense of Zen on the highway? Here are a few rational steps to take to demonstrate the fine art of inner peace while the journey tries to make you seethe.

No playlist is ideal.

Face it, it’s unlikely that everyone in the car will ever agree on what music to listen to. This is the perfect time to pull rank – the driver has to be mollified to get to your destination safely. Whether your secret to remaining calm in the driver’s seat is Yacht Rock or Metallica (more power to you), take your opportunity.

This shouldn’t need to be said – multitasking is a no-no.

Remind them frequently, and practice this yourself: driving should never be the other thing you’re doing.

Take the scenic route if possible.

Even if you can shave 10 minutes off your drive, unless you’re on a deadline, take the more interesting route when you can. Make a game of it – try to find a different route each time you go someplace familiar. Besides, driving on the highway can really challenge your inner peace.

Acknowledge that you’re a role model for creating safe drivers in the family.

The reality is that as you drive, you’re apt to be teaching some unintended lessons about the art of driving to the next generation. Complaining and cursing out other drivers will be integrated into their long-term psyches; focus upon showing kindness, and yes, practice patience. If you must break out the occasional swear, at least make it creative. But showing them how to keep a level head while driving will pay big dividends for your own peace of mind when it’s their turn to borrow the car alone for the first time.

Should none of these be enough, follow up with a guaranteed solution: the Zen of Ice Cream.

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