Distracted driving is a primary factor that contributes to one out of every six traffic-related deaths and serious injuries. Daydreaming is the number one distraction. Cognitive distractions can happen at any moment while driving. From commuting to running errands, drivers can easily become distracted by their thoughts. Thinking about a work-related problem or daydreaming about your dinner plans diminishes the mental abilities required to drive safely. The danger of daydreaming and driving is that you don’t become aware of it until an accident has happened. According to a 2018 study by Erie Insurance, 61 percent of fatal car crashes were caused by people who claim to be “lost in their thoughts.” Unlike texting and driving, daydreaming might be more difficult to avoid. Maintaining a clear mind and staying actively engaged are essential to preventing distracted driving.
Follow these tips to stay alert and aware:
- Plan your driving routes. This allows you to stay focused on the road and not on figuring out directions.
- Self-check your mental and emotional state. It might be best to get a ride or take transit and avoid driving if you are feeling emotionally or mentally overwhelmed.
- Make a playlist with music that helps you focus. Upbeat music can help you stay alert and awake. Download the music that works best for you.
- Chew gum to stay alert. Studies show chewing gum helps.