We see distracted drivers in Indiana 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 definition is narrow and incomplete. 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.
Even daydreaming, or being lost in your thoughts, is distracted driving. A study by the Erie Insurance Group found that daydreaming caused the most distracted driving fatalities. In fact, over a five-year period, 61% of distracted drivers were daydreaming or otherwise “lost in thought.” Using a cell phone was the second leading cause for distracted driving, at 14%.
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—meaning they drive on autopilot, which leaves them vulnerable to unexpected traffic events.
How do you fight this kind of distraction? By actively engaging in focused driving. Here are four tips to help you avoid an auto accident by staying focused on the “here and now” of your driving.
Driving defensively 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.
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, which equals to 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.
It’s impossible to scan safely when driving too close to the car in front of you. Allow at least three 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.
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 or a loved one have been injured because of the actions of a negligent driver, you are urged to contact the attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. An Indianapolis car accident lawyer from WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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