Is daydreaming the new form of distracted driving?

You drive over a four-way intersection and suddenly, at the other side, you wake up to the reality of what just happened - you just drove through a red light. Sounds familiar?

We are constantly reminded by friends, media, and other sources to stay off our mobile phones while driving, but many still ignore this warning and the possible dire consequences.

Now, Masterdrive’s CEO, Eugene Herbert, points to yet another serious form of distracted driving.

“We have become so accustomed to traffic lights not working that some drivers automatically treat intersections like four-way stops when the light is actually green, or potentially worse, red. Have you done this in your own driving or have you seen another driver make this mistake and had to take evasive action?

“As a result of inattentiveness, one is driving without situational awareness. Thus, you are driving while in ‘autopilot’ and simply going through the motions. This means you are unaware of the traffic conditions around you or potential risks, and therefore will not respond appropriately to these.”

Research by IAM RoadSmart in the UK suggests that this phenomenon is more common than most would acknowledge. As many as 40% of drivers are likely not concentrating while driving.

The three most common reasons for this are given as daydreaming, stress and thinking about your destination.

“If, nine times out of 10 on your trip to or from work, there is load-shedding, treat every intersection as a four-way stop. Make it a habit. Consequently, instead of arriving at a destination and realising one cannot remember most of their drive, motorists are being shocked out of their daydreams by other drivers’ hooting or swerving around them at intersections.”

Tips to remedy daydreaming

• Sleep enough.
• Be mindful: make an effort before starting a journey to focus your full attention on the road and not on your to-do list.
• Use aids. If inattentiveness becomes a habit, stick a reminder on your visor or dashboard to create awareness every time you get into your car.
• Music. Although it can be distractive, too, most people agree that it can be helpful while driving.
• Avoid the phone. Switch it to silent or use software like that provided by Nocell.

“Driving while distracted [DWD] is not just something that affects all road users. It is ongoing and drivers must be weary and mindful that it happens, and what the consequences will be if they simply ignore the signs. DWD comes in many forms. Do not make the mistake of thinking because you’re not using your phone that you are not driving distracted – and it all has the same tragic consequences,” concluded Herbert.

Source: MotorPress



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