5 April, 2021
Have you ever left work, driven home, and suddenly thought “How did I get home?” You can’t remember much of the drive, but there you are, parked in your driveway. It’s happened to many of us at some point and is the number one distraction while driving: daydreaming.
A recent study by Erie Insurance reported this astonishing fact after researching the nationwide car crash database known as the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The insurance giant discovered that over the last five years there were 172,000 traffic-related fatalities where one in ten victims got distracted while behind the wheel. Even more disturbing was that 61% of these deaths had at least one driver thinking about anything but the road in front of them.
Despite our best efforts to practice safe driving habits, many of us will get lost in thought while we drive due to the way our brain works. We experience countless sensations and stimulus every second, and our mind has to prioritize what’s most important. Too much stimulating information at once would overload our senses, so we have to trade off for a smaller attention span that wanders.
This happens behind the wheel when we focus so hard on getting to work that we don’t notice in our side mirror the car we’re about to crash into as we attempt to take our exit. How many times have you found yourself slowing down when approaching a green light because you were thinking about something else and instinctively thought the light was red? It happens to all of us and can potentially cause serious accidents.
Distracted thoughts while driving tend to bring a sense of false confidence because you may feel aware of your situation, but your active conscious is not truly engaged. This doesn’t mean you won’t pop back into reality when an emergency occurs, but your reaction timing won’t kick in as quickly, which could result in an accident.
It’s impossible to stop your brain from doing what it’s naturally programmed to do, but there are techniques you can use to help minimize it during your commute. Consider practicing the following tips to help avoid daydreaming situations on the road:
To keep your peripheral vision active and stop listless thoughts, your eyes should regularly move by switching your gaze every few seconds.
This method is similar to planning for a worst-case scenario. Imagine what might happen when you’re approaching an intersection with a driver waiting to turn left after you pass them in the oncoming lane. What if they turn before you get by them? Is there enough stopping distance? Visualize and keep your brain focused by preparing for potential traffic situations while you drive.
When we eat crunchy foods like nuts, corn chips, candies, and granola, we maintain alertness because of the noise and efforts to crunch down the pieces. If your teeth can’t handle hard foods, gum is an excellent alternative as you still need to work it around your mouth and not swallow it.
Try different driving routes throughout the week so that the unfamiliarity of the scenery and road conditions will keep you on high alert. It’s easy to let your thoughts wander off when you take the same familiar route home every day.
If you’re the victim of a distracted driver-related auto collision, choosing a dedicated law firm to represent you during your recovery is a smart decision. The negative impact of an accident is overwhelming when trying to navigate the complex claim process and trying to heal. Having an experienced legal team working on your behalf is invaluable during this time.
The Barnes Firm’s best car accident lawyers in NYC have worked tirelessly to protect the future and best interest of our clients for decades. You deserve to receive the best possible care to move past this traumatizing time in your life caused by the negligence of others on the road. We don’t take any fees until we recover financial compensation for you, and our membership with the Million Dollar Advocates Forum establishes our ability to bring claims successfully to trial. Learn more about how our seasoned car accident legal team can help you by contacting us today.
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