I often found that driving to work and back to be the most stressful part of my day.

And, to combat this I started to drive without the radio on and tried to focus my mind to the vibrations felt by the car, and the sounds of the engine and other cars.

Now obviously some could consider this as dangerous.

However, I feel it actually makes my driving safer, just wanted to know if anyone has ever read anything on this subject ? Obviously there are no teachings of the past on this subject

  • 1
    Why/how is it stressful?
    – ChrisW
    Oct 9, 2017 at 13:37
  • 1
    @ChrisW I feel as if I am completely different person when driving, I sort of see every other car as an obstacle, and even challenge at times. I only ever swear when i am driving, and I feel anger in myself at times. Obviously this is something I want to change.
    – PeterH
    Oct 9, 2017 at 13:40
  • Why do you think driving with less distractions and more focus would be more dangerous?
    – user253751
    Oct 10, 2017 at 2:46

4 Answers 4


The thing I concentrate on when driving is good-will and the desire to avoid hurting other people.

See also for example,

My experience as a driver tells me it's possible to do so (i.e. I've been driving for years without an accident, not all the time but on a variety of roads), and so I'm not too stressed (about being unable to do what I want, which is to drive without hitting people). If I begin to feel unsure then I slow down.

This attitude might simplify the job of driving: I'm not trying to get there as fast as possible (which is impossible because of "obstacles"), instead I'm trying to drive safely, lawfully, cooperatively, politely.

Another reason maybe why I don't feel anger is that, instead, I feel gratitude towards the large majority of drivers who I meet on the road, who are competent and safe and cooperative, kind.

In particular, what I concentrate visually on is the empty road which I intend to drive onto, plus the other things (cars, people, whatever) around it which might move to block or fill that empty space.

I tend not to use the radio (and don't much want people talking to me when I'm driving) because my attention is limited and I want to keep my mind of what I'm seeing rather than on when I'm hearing.

When I'm riding a bicycle rather than driving a car, I am listening too, for cars behind me.

Sorry to hear you're stressed. Once I got really used to it, I found that commuting to and from work, by bicycle, was the least stressful part of my day.

I got in the car just today, trying to get to a store before it closed for lunch; and finding myself a bit stressed as I set off I told myself, "don't stress, don't speed, keep your car in lane on the road, refrain from hitting anyone".

I guess I am also listening to the sound of the engine, to help me know that I'm maintaining the speed limit without cruise control and without keeping my eyes glued to the speedometer.

Also FWIW I see other cars as people not as obstacles; I know that their senses when driving are a bit limited though, that they can't hear well, that they're more likely to be looking ahead than sideways or backwards, so I try not to assume they've seen me.

To a certain extent I suppose I let my feelings control my driving, i.e. I drive in a way that doesn't arouse (or that minimises) stress (stress in me and/or in a passenger).

Also to the extent that "mindful" means "remembering" I suppose I try to remember the traffic laws (speed limit, right-of-way, signalling) and driving lessons, and to pay attention to what I'm seeing and to my speed.


It's good to reflect Dhamma while driving and be mindful.

Let my person tell a merely personal story:

Once my person was still a householder, a young successful employer, enjoyed to compfortable drive in the "bigges" car of his town, smooth, relacted, V8, no need to push the gas, just driving to the next meeting, 100 of thousand km a year, he got much aware of that * flap * * flap *, on the windows surface on a lonly road.

Reflecting a little more of what is the case of such disaster, he reduced his drives an seeks for more.

Later even took on the bike and focused on work not to far.

After he actually left this all behind, he saw, that if he uses others for a ride, it is sometimes even more worse, so he thought, what if not greed, would one hinder just to simply walk.

Even later, he observed the struggles people have with shoes and how less one in shoes, compfortable, "protective", takes care of his steps. Of course it gives certain freedom to look here and there, but what does one looking for, while under the shoes other are just smashed?

At least, it carries a lot of freedom, if not depending on "protection" and "compfort" and not only that one mostly is much more flexible, much more able to move and even faster as an aeroplain in calculating right, one able to train mindfulness by each and every step, has, if not more, the gain of freedom of remorse made his possession, a liberty not easy to gain, but just step by step.

Of course the "story" is much deeper, but maybe this short cut gives good reason for possible less build on "equanimity" but take on the road of letting go, reduce and sacrifies, step by step.

Maybe some inspirations are also found in some words my person wrote some times ago: Who is the winner in the Traffic of life?.

As for the question again: being mindful on the frames of references, even while driving, is not dangerous but actually good. If it how ever, does not lead to certain insight about the drive behind the drive, does not really lead to disenchantment in regard of having a nice drive, certainly the task might be not right made and can, in this case, be of course dangerous in all aspects.

A nice first step into Dhamma might be also "Step by Step, by late Ven. Ghosananda.

The Buddha called the practice of mindfulness „the only way.“ Always in the present. At this very moment. From moment to moment. In all activity. In this very step.

This is why we say, “Step by Step. Each step is a meditation.” When the children in Providence see me off at the station, as I walk up to the train, they shout, “Slowly, slowly, step by step, each step is a prayer!” and all the passengers look and smile. This saying has become famous!

The children do not know English well, but they know this sentence by heart. They are the new Cambodia, and already they know the way to peace.

In Cambodia, we say, “A journey of 10.000 miles begins with a single step.”

Slowly, slowly, step by step. Each step is a meditation. Each step is a prayer.

If coming across such saying like that of the Batchelors: "You know if a person is really enlightened, when he/she has at midnight a car problem, strong raining and the cell-phone does not work...", than one can be sure that he/she gained the wrong guidance...

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial purpose and other low wordily gains by trade and exchange]


Instead of viewing every car as an obstacle try to shift your mind to see each as sentient being(s), just like you, with the same goal as you, to reach their destination safely.

If your anger stems from being in a rush or late, try to leave earlier to give more time to reach your destination.

Driving with the radio off and with your focus on the road, your car, and other cars is actually safer in many regards.

If a driver does something that arouses anger in your being, ask yourself,

"Will I remember this in 5 years? Is it worth being angry about?"

Nine times out of ten the action or event is inconsequential and effects us only in a minor fashion if we can find the comedy in the situation to focus on our drives will be much more relaxed.


You are on the right road, mindfulness is helping. This is because it occupies your mind with what you are doing instead of your wants.

The point of driving is to drive, not to get somewhere.

There are plenty of teachings on Vipassana. Start anywhere. Walking and driving are not different.

  • I am tempted to ask if you intentionally used 'the right road' as a pun, but will not. More importantly, I think your comment on the point of driving is very much to the issue. Many times we get too involved with the minutia of the steps we are taking rather than understanding that what is most important is the reason for the journey.
    – GVCOJims
    Oct 13, 2017 at 19:12
  • Re-reading my above comment, I realized that I might not have been clear. What I was trying to say was that I feel Mindfulness does not just involve being mindful of the manner and details of individual actions that we take, but also - perhaps more importantly - involves being mindful of the fundamental reasons we are taking these actions in the first place.
    – GVCOJims
    Oct 13, 2017 at 19:26
  • @GVCOJims yes, I think I understand you. After decades of contemplation on my actions and the world at large, the statement which I would stand behind is, "The collective enterprise is worthwhile." To venture more than this seems to me to be developing concepts, ideas and thus, errors.
    – user2341
    Oct 13, 2017 at 20:36

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