Audrey Cozzarin, a Norwalk resident, is head of the Norwalk Citizens Traffic Safety Committee, hosts of the upcoming “Driving Mindfully” free event, a unique mix of Meditation and Driver Safety, at Norwalk Public Library on Sat., Sept. 7, 10:00-11:00 A.M. All are welcome. Register at www.norwalkpl.org.
Traffic. One word, many issues. Traffic is the #1 concern of Norwalk residents, according to a 2018 finding by the Plan of Conservation and Development Committee. Congestion on our highways and local roads remains a challenge.
Motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists share the road, and we all experience the danger of unsafe behavior: Speeding, running red lights, blowing through stop signs, tailgating, jay-walking, bicycling on the wrong side of the road, etc. In Norwalk and our region, these are daily occurrences.
What can be done to address this behavior and make our roads safer? It starts with me, you, each individual. We have a choice to “get centered” before we turn the key, deciding to be mindful before we start out on our journey.
When I am in a hurry, I realize I may be driving over the speed limit. When I’m angry at another motorist who just ran a red light, I cause my own blood pressure to rise, injuring myself. Becoming aware that I need to pay better attention (to speed limits, to those around me on the road) as well as control my own emotions (for better quality of life), I see how it affects my community in a positive way. I tend not to see others as in my way, and no longer treat time as if it is an enemy. If our minds are on our “to-do” lists, worries, relationships, politics, and other societal stressors, we are not paying attention to what we are doing in the moment. When we are driving 2-ton metal objects that can injure and kill, we must be fully present.
Meditation, mindfulness and breathing skills, and contemplative prayer are ways to calm the mind and soul, which soothe the emotions. They keep you awake and alert, in the here and now, and allow you to treat others with greater compassion. Not making excuses for poor driver behavior, but letting it go and being a better driver yourself because of it. Living by example. Join me in this.
Try driving the speed limit for one day. Follow the traffic laws flawlessly. See how that feels. Observe how others on the road behave around you as you practice this. Remember to “hang up and drive.” Safe driving starts with you, me, and each of us.
Ideally, Norwalk may become a more “walk-able, bike-able” city, quieter and friendlier, allowing everyone to enjoy life more. However, without resolving driver behavior and traffic issues, they are in danger. Get centered before you drive. It may save a life. Your own.