The importance of a positive mental attitude in making our roads safer

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According to the author, emotional maturity requires that one separates personal issues from driving or riding a motorcycle.

There will be no end to road accidents but we certainly can decrease the number if people – drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists – are more focused. People often have their mind elsewhere when driving or crossing the road. There is a psychological element involved in road accidents.

Tension complicates matters. Drivers or motorcyclists who get easily irritated or nervous will find that it takes them more time to react to a situation than those who remain calm. Nervousness blurs the judgement. Being on the edge of nerves and driving/riding at the same time do not go together. A calm mind goes a long way to ensuring a safe drive/ride.

We do have so many people who are overwhelmed by their emotional issues. They do not always have full control over their intense emotions. This may lead to discomfort and moodiness. There has been an injustice done against you and you strongly feel like raging against it. In such a frame of mind, driving, riding or a simple thing like crossing the road becomes risky. There is therefore a need for people to understand that they cannot be ruled, wherever they go, by their daily failures, disappointments and frustrations. There is a time for everything.

Your troubles at work or your quarrels with your wife or husband must not be allowed to get the upper hand on your driving. Doing one thing at a time remains a useful principle. Concentrating on the task at hand is vital. Emotional maturity requires that one separates personal issues from driving or riding a motorcycle. Emotional problems drain us of our positive energy and affect our concentration level. Fretting over something distracts our attention. It is therefore necessary to have a grip on our emotions.

The cooler you are when driving, riding or using the pavement, the lesser are the chances of running into trouble. Learning to manage and direct our emotions by thinking positively and hopefully soothes our nerves. When you feel comfortable with yourself, you drive at ease and you can see more clearly the obstacles in your way.

It is also important not to let the mind get wearied. There are many things over which, in the course of a day, people get upset. It makes sense to dismiss all traces of negativity from the mind. Some people are used to taking small matters and magnifying them out of proportion. This weighs heavily on the mind. The result is a cluttered mind. We need to de-clutter the mind in order to feel clear-headed, light and relieved.

A mind or a heart filled with all sorts of unnecessary things put pressure on us. It makes us miserable and exhausted. Peace of mind and a relaxed emotional state are, in my view, essential factors to consider when we talk of safety on the road. Having the mind in the clouds exposes both the driver and the pedestrian to risks. It is a common thing in Mauritius to see pedestrians, men or women, crossing the road away from the cross here, preoccupied with their phones (making or receiving calls, texting, reading messages, checking etc).

Empathetic drivers are in a better position to see what harm and pain a death on the road brings to a whole family. They have a keener understanding of what suffering and loss entail. As a consequence, they take the necessary measures before they start to drive as well as when they are driving, thus demonstrating a sense of responsibility. Unfortunately, we have self-centred drivers who think too much of themselves. They do what the heart dictates, they have no time to consider what the mind says. This type is dangerous.

Have you noticed the way some of our young adults ride their motorcycles? The speed at which they ride or the noise they make is meant to attract the attention of passers-by.

They give themselves an air of arrogance (fer mari/ fer gran nwar/met dan zar). Arrogance is a mental attitude that satisfies the ego and takes you into a world of your own to such a point that you do not notice small yet important details around you. In other words, it limits your vision. A calm rider who has no need to show off tends to be self-confident and sharp in his judgement.

A sound sleep contributes enormously towards a positive mental attitude. Sleep clears the mind of superfluous things. It makes you feel alert. It drives away gloomy ideas. In short, it puts you in the right mood. With such a mental disposition, you are less likely to commit a blunder on the road. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Some deep breathing, some stretching or tensing the muscles then releasing them gradually will lead you to feel better. They allow tension to flow out of you naturally and you feel energized.

One of the things that jumping the red light tells us about the person is that he cares neither for rules nor for his life. Had he been in a serene state of mind, would he have done it?

A positive mindset can save you a lot of trouble. Preventing a road accident begins, above all, at the individual level.

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