Commercials, campaigns, and more are dedicated to bringing awareness to drivers about the danger of texting and driving. Car companies have created hands-free systems to cut down on the use of hand-held devices, but is texting really the biggest cause of distracted driving?
You might be shocked to know that texting and driving is actually far below the number one distraction, daydreaming. Daydreaming is the number one distraction when driving because you are taking your mind off driving. Of the roughly 6,500 fatal accidents that occurred in 2010 and 2011 which involved distracted driving, 62% of the accidents involved one or more drivers that were “lost in thought,” compared to just 12% that were using a phone to text or make a call.
The problem is how do you tell people to stop daydreaming? With phone usage, a cop can see a driver holding up their phone to their ear or looking down texting. When it comes to daydreaming how can someone see that or even minimize it?
Well, daydreaming cannot be eliminated completely, only minimized. Naturally your mind is wired to always be thinking and wondering, but you have to want to not be distracted to make the change. Daydreaming comes out of nowhere. One moment you think you are focused on the road, and the next you are snapping yourself back to reality after being locked in a dead stare. Here are some tips to minimize daydreaming.
- Move your gaze around often to avoid getting locked into focusing on one point, which spirals into daydreaming.
- Think about “what if” situations: What if that car comes into my lane? What if my brakes went out? What if an accident happened right in front of me? Preparing yourself mentally allows you to be ready for any situation and makes you aware of the cars around you.
- Drive different routes to your destination if possible. If you have time, take the back way to the grocery store or to work. Maybe you’ll come across a new restaurant or park along the way!
Daydreaming is hard to combat since it is a mental battle. When we get tired, it is harder to remain alert as our minds wander hoping to get home faster. Then when you do get home, you often cannot remember parts of your trip because you were daydreaming and not actively taking in your surroundings. This is distracted driving that is not advertised in our society at all. Texting and driving is dangerous as well, but being only the second driving distraction, you would think we would want to bring awareness to the number one distraction, daydreaming.
Pekin Insurance’s new campaign, “Focus to the Finish,” is dedicated to informing individuals about all the risks associated with driving, not just the ones you always hear about. We are dedicated to getting you to your destination safely with this knowledge. Keeping your focus on the road is a job in itself. So we will keep working to inform you about distracted driving so you can keep those around you safe and make it to your destination safely every day!