We see distracted drivers in Indianapolis every day. In fact, it’s hard to find drivers who are paying complete attention to the road. While many people associate distracted driving with texting, speaking on a cell phone and other non-driving activities that involve gadgets, this is a narrow and incomplete definition. More broadly, distracted driving occurs when you are engaged in any activity that interferes with your ability to drive. If the activity interferes with seeing the road, using the car’s controls (steering wheel, accelerator and brakes), or your mental focus, then it’s a distraction. This means that even daydreaming, or being lost in your thoughts, is distracted driving. Several years ago, the Erie Insurance Group studied police data and found that daydreaming caused the most distracted driving fatalities.
This finding makes sense because daydreaming is a common human behavior. It occurs when people are bored, have pressing concerns or are reminiscing. When caught up in routine activities that don’t challenge the mind, people naturally occupy themselves with more interesting things. This means they drive on autopilot, which leaves them vulnerable to any unexpected traffic event.
Fight Daydreaming With Focus
How do you fight this kind of distraction? By actively engaging in focused driving. Here are four tips to help you avoid an Indianapolis auto accident by staying focused on the “here and now” of your driving:
- Take a refresher course on defensive driving. You will find that driving defensively in Indianapolis requires effort and will keep your mind busy. People get away with relaxed driving only because they make too many assumptions about the traffic situation around them.
- Expand your awareness of the surrounding traffic by actively scanning. Don’t limit your attention to the car in front. Scan further down the road. This practice prepares you for traffic problems before they directly affect you. Your scanning should include all the traffic between your front bumper to about one-quarter of a mile ahead. This is 15 seconds of driving at 60 mph. In addition, occasionally check your side and rear-view mirrors to assess the traffic beside and behind you.
- Maintain a following distance of 3 seconds. It’s impossible to scan safely when driving too close to the car in front of you. Allow at least 3 seconds of following distance. When the car in front passes by a fixed object or shadow, count off the seconds it takes for your front bumper to reach it.
- Maintain an awareness of the traffic signs in front of you. There are many road signs that pertain to safely driving the road ahead, yet many drivers tune them out. Make sure to obey them.
While daydreaming can be nice, being on the receiving end of a daydreaming driver’s negligent behavior can leave you in a nightmare. If you were injured because of the actions of a negligent driver, get the legal advice of an experienced Indianapolis car accident attorney. For a free case evaluation, contact Wilson Kehoe Winingham today.