Sunday, November 10, 2013

Educate Your Driving Brain - Hands and Minds Together


Recently I met Nate Jones, a master mechanic who has established "Kids Hands and Minds Together", a non-profit that promotes educating the brain through hands-on activity. The goal is to encourage creativity, three-dimensional problem solving, team building, and convergent thinking (the ability to derive the single best, or most often correct answer to a question). He has established a hands-on laboratory for kids on the U.S.S. Iowa, a WWII era battleship that is now docked in Los Angeles Harbor.


Nate got me thinking about the connection between hands and brains when it come to driving. For most of us this means we begin to learn driving skills as teenagers. Obviously driving is a hands-on activity. Our brains must be fully engaged in order to be, and to become, the very best driver possible. Perhaps the most important aspect of hand-brain development when it comes to driving is that of convergent thinking. One of the most basic questions we can ask and answer is, "Why are there traffic laws?"

I would contend any traffic law established for the public good is first and foremost about preserving relationships - with those we love, with those who love us, as well as with all our fellow human beings we will never know that we encounter on or along the road each day. Each of these people also are loved by and love others as well. 

Would it not then make sense to educate our brains through the actions of our hands behind the wheel? Why? To preserve the relationships we have with those we care for and who care for us, as well as for all others we encounter on or around roadways? We can engage in this process by doing the following:

Walk around your vehicle to make sure no children are hiding in blind spots. Use your hands to clean windows, adjust mirrors, correctly position the driver's seat, etc, 

Use your hands to turn off your cell phone and set it aside until I reach my destination

Use your hands to Buckle up and make sure all passengers are buckled up as well


Observe all posted speed limits in neighborhoods and beyond, and adjust downward due to presence of children at play, cyclists, road and weather conditions

Create space - at least 3 to 4 seconds between your vehicle and others around you, allowing time to react to the driving behaviors of others

Be a thinker and use your hand to engage your blinker to signal all turns and lane changes

Stop! Take 3 to See at all stop signs regardless of whether or not anyone is present - it is your opportunity to practice making complete stops so you are ready the one time that someone does seem to appear out of nowhere

Observe all traffic signals and traffic signs

Repeatedly practice each and every one of these skills every time you get behind the wheel to help shape your brain to think first about keeping yourself and others safe and alive so that you and others enjoy more fully every good that life brings. 

Finally, think of the ones you love, the ones who are waiting for you to return home safely. Ask the questions:

"Who do I love" and "who loves me?" 

May the faces of all the loved ones you picture in your mind give you the "will" to educate your mind as you practice keeping your hands on the wheel and develop the driving skills necessary to keep kids (of all ages) alive and to make safe driving behaviors a lifetime, life-preserving, and life-saving habit. 

Learn more about how to begin a "Keep Kids Alive" educational campaign in your community @ Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®

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