Virtually everyone has heard about distracted driving and how dangerous it can be. However, it is difficult to get entirely accurate statistics on distracted driving because few drivers want to admit to being distracted while behind the wheel. Yet, according to an ERIE Insurance survey, of all those killed in car crashes between 2013 and 2018, at least ten percent were definitely caused by a distracted driver.
When most of us think of distracted driving behaviors, we immediately think of talking on our phone while driving, and texting or reading texts while driving. You might be surprised to hear that daydreaming while driving just might cause more accidents than cell phone use. ERIE found that daydreaming—taking your mind away from the task of driving—is likely the top distraction leading to fatalities.
Many of us count on our drive home as being a time to lose the stress of the day and think about home and our plans for the evening or week ahead. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly dangerous to allow your mind to “drift” while driving. Even more alarming is the fact that most of us daydream while driving without even fully realizing that we are doing it—or how risky it is. ERIE found that Police reported 61 percent of distracted drivers were daydreaming at the time of a fatal crash. Compare this with 14 percent of drivers who were using their cell phones at the time of a fatal crash.
There are three types of distraction: manual, visual, and cognitive. Manual distraction involves taking your hands off the wheel (eating, picking up a dropped toy, holding your phone). Visual distractions involve taking your eyes off the road (looking at a text, turning around to see what the children are doing in the back seat). Cognitive distraction involves taking your mind off what you are doing. Most distracted driving accidents involve more than one type of distraction.
According to a researcher, Dr. Paul Atchley, if you typically listen to music, podcasts, or the radio while driving, you should actively avoid your favorite playlists. This type of listening can encourage your brain to wander because you aren’t actively listening. Listening to a podcast or radio show involves a level of mental engagement that also keeps you more focused on what’s happening around you.
Atchley recommends playing childhood games like “I Spy” with a passenger or with yourself while driving to ensure your brain is fully focused on the road and that you are driving defensively. He also encourages keeping your “hazard perception skills” sharp by looking out for any situation that could require immediate action. Such situations could include a bicyclist on the side of the road, a child that could dart into the road, or a merging automobile. In short, stay alert and keep your mind on your driving and other drivers on the roadway.
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If you or someone you love suffered an injury in a Colorado Springs accident, you deserve to have someone on your side from the very start. Let us evaluate your claim and explore all your legal options. Contact the Green Law Firm, P.C. today by calling (719) 694-8515, or by filling out the contact form on this page, to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and discuss your case.