A guide to being a safe driver with an emphasis on the dangers and related consequences of everyday driving.
In his first book, Balis outlines the importance of driving with a calm attitude and a centered mind. He notes how the cultural attitude of driving has changed from cautious to casual and makes sound points about the random and unpredictable variables that exist on the road, like bad weather or surprising curves. Add to these careless human errors or lapses in judgment—texting or driving while under the influence, for example—and the sum total is a rather dangerous daily activity that most people do not take too seriously. He forces readers to examine their own behavior on the road and consider changes they can make to be safer. Balis also suggests fine-tuning skills on reading road “clues,” such as being aware of traffic density, light and time of day, as well as subtler observations, e.g., noticing the direction a line of phone poles takes to indicate upcoming curves in the road. Ultimately, his advice is spot-on and important. At times, however, it feels a bit unrealistic. How does one reduce danger and improve safety? “The answer is to recognize and respect the unpredictability of the road every moment of every drive.” While we may hope to maintain this sort of tireless vigilance, it feels impossible. Still, this handbook on driving safely boils down to some basic, no-nonsense wisdom: “Think of driving as more Zen, less zoom. Your car may be one of the few places you can be utterly unto yourself, private, thoughtful, contemplative. Appreciate these moments. Breathe into that blessed privacy and space.” Hard to argue with this.
A good reminder to drive with a relaxed but alert mind and let the harried others pass by without incident.