Being late is a terribly anxious feeling. If we are driving a vehicle while running late, this terrible feeling is only amplified. Every red light becomes a personal attack, every vehicle in front of us becomes an obstruction, and worst of all, there is almost no solution to the problem. Once someone has fallen behind schedule, that time has passed and can’t be brought back. This is how being late can provoke dangerous temptations. Some drivers will try speeding, quick maneuvering, rushing through intersections, and otherwise turning their vehicle into a Formula 1 racecar, all in the hopes of “saving time”. In this situation, sending a text message with warnings and excuses of your impending lateness can become a major temptation. When we see these reckless drivers on the roads, it’s obvious to the rest of us in traffic - “Wow, that person must be late!”. As we contemplate these pressures while driving in a rush, running late must be considered the most significant daily temptation to push our driving behaviors beyond the realm of safe.
So, what are the risks of driving with this rushed mindset? When it comes to distracted driving, most of us know that using a cell phone is unsafe. For about 11 years, there have been laws in Saskatchewan that carry some considerable punishments for doing so. Even with these well-known rules that have been proven to save many lives, “driver inattention and distraction is responsible for 21% of all collisions” – https://www.sgi.sk.ca/handbook/-/knowledge_base/drivers/distracted-driving. Speed also continues to be a major problem in Saskatchewan. Drivers, at times, claim that “being late” was their reason for driving above the speed limit. Being late is known to create anxiety, and an anxious person is one who will more likely resort to unsafe behaviors. There is a temptation to correct lateness by speeding, which multiplies the chances of a collision. It seems that no matter how aware a driver may be of these dangerous behaviors, the temptation to overcome a mistake, like leaving late, becomes too strong to ignore.
If we think about it, the simple truth is this: By the time our vehicle pulls out of a parking spot, the opportunity to “save time” with any significant effect is gone. So, let's rewind to the source of being late, to the original reason why one would become anxious, and otherwise tempted to engage in speeding, distracted driving, or a variety of other unsafe behaviours in the first place. Any journey starts by leaving the current destination. So, what can be done in preparation, before our journey begins, to ensure that we are ready to drive while staying distraction and anxiety free?