8 Smart Reasons To Take Your Time While Driving and How To Develop The Habit

by Brad Isaac on December 4, 2007

Recently, I went to pick up my kids from school when an accident nearly happened. Like all school days, there was a lot of traffic. Earlier in the day, I had pulled into a parking space, walked into the school and got my kids. When I returned to my car, the line of cars was blocking my vehicle.

This didn’t phase me one bit. In fact, I looked at it as an opportunity to listen to some XM and chat.

We sat there for 10 or 15 minutes until all the cars had passed. I carefully checked both ways and began to back out. I got about 1/10th out of the space when I saw someone whipping their minivan around the corner, racing toward my rear bumper. In the next second I heard the driver lay on the horn.

“hmm…” I thought calmly. “I guess there might be an accident if I continue backing out. Or there might be an accident if I move forward. So I should probably just sit here until everyone is certain there won’t be an accident. In fact, I might just get out to make sure she understands I wasn’t trying to back into her when she was 75 yards away in the road outside the parking lot.”

Yes, I knew I was being a pain in the ass. I sat there for probably 2 solid minutes because – hey! I have XM! I don’t care!

Ahem… I don’t know the driver personally. But if she’s like many others, she gives up her emotional autonomy to other drivers whenever she gets behind the wheel. Is that something she really wants?

Aside from giving your emotional power to a total stranger, here are 8 more smart reasons to take your time while driving:

1. Safe Driving Decreases worry – Don’t you have enough to worry about to add speeding tickets, court dates and increased insurance costs to the mix? A conscious effort to take your time helps to relax you while everyone else is white knuckling it.

2. It teaches patience – Driving in crowded traffic teaches patience. When you fight traffic by yelling, honking your horn, biting your nails or other display, you are fighting an unwinnable battle. It’s like stressing out because a mountain is too high or the sea is too deep. Traffic is what it is – a part of life. Learn to approach traffic patiently and you will learn patience.

3. Saves gas & money – We hear a lot about gas and the environment lately. Even if you don’t agree with all of the different theories, it has been proven that if you drive slower your gas will go farther. If you get more milage, then you’ll save more money – plain and simple economics.

4. In the event of an accident, you have a better chance of decreasing the damage – Two cars are in a 35 mile per hour speed limit zone. If one car is going north at 50 mph and the other is going south at 50 mph, what is the speed of the collision? It’s 100 mph. You can see if both were going the speed limit, they’d reduce the speed of the impact by 40 mph.

If you add on the increase in reaction time the accident may be avoidable entirely.

5. It’s an opportunity to learn a new subject – I’ve posted before about how I like to learn on the road. You too can download audio programs or get them from Nightingale Conant. I’ve learned many-o-subject or at least improved my skills while driving including Spanish, negotiation, persuasion, copywriting and communications to name a few.

6. Your passengers will feel more comfortable – Have you ever ridden with someone who drove like a maniac? Remember how uncomfortable you were? By slowing down and making it a habit, your passengers will never fear for their lives.

7. The time You save could never replace a life – This sums up the main philosophy. Lets say you could save 10 minutes if you sped to work. But one of those days, an accident happened and someone died. No matter how much that 10 minutes would be on paper $100, $200, $10,000 (Anybody here making $1,000 a minute?) You’d still not be able to replace a life lost in an accident.

People who have bad road accidents where they are at fault always wish they had done something differently. They wish they hadn’t been speeding, drinking or playing around behind the wheel. By taking your time, you never have to wish you had slowed down or driven less recklessly.

8. You might actually enjoy the trip – Personally, I’ve gotten to a point in life where I usually enjoy the trip. I do a lot of thinking and as mentioned in #5 learned some great subjects.

Those are the 8 smart reasons to take your time while driving, here’s how to develop it as a habit.

Decide - Every time you get behind the wheel of a car decide that you will take your time no matter how congested traffic gets or what the clock says.

Challenge yourself – If you feel yourself getting uptight or tempted to put the petal to the metal, challenge yourself. Taking your time, might be more difficult than driving fast. But since when do you shrink from difficult challenges? You can do it. Turn it into a game.

Learn something – Bring along some success audio CDs or podcasts.

Leave early – When you first start developing your patience while driving, leave a bit early. If you are early, you won’t feel the added pressure of tardiness.

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December 4, 2007 at 4:08 pm


Great post. I previously lived in the Chicago area and would describe myself as a possessed maniac behind the wheel. I drove way too fast, took chances, and put myself and others in harm’s way. I always felt that I was racing to get somewhere or to someone.

I didn’t loose my need to be in a constant hurry until I moved to Wisconsin. I was relieved of this desire, and have now sloweed down and practice many of the suggestions you’ve listed for the reasons you’ve listed.

Thanks for the reminder.


December 5, 2007 at 3:29 am

This world has created a lot of impatient drivers. We should really try to reverse that habit especially with the holidays fast approaching. Perhaps, this Christmas, we can fully incorporate the act of giving while driving. Giving way can do a great deal to help prevent any accidents on the road.

Brad Isaac December 5, 2007 at 6:37 pm

David, glad you found a way to take your time driving. Many of us can’t or don’t want to move for various reasons. But if you find yourself having to move away, you might choose a calmer commute area if it’s an option. :)

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