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Dangerous Daydreams

Dangerous Daydreams

Everyone has them: moments of distracted fantasies unfurling before our eyes when we’re supposed to concentrate on matters at hand. Who doesn’t occasionally lapse into a waking dream? We have a lot to think about. What we’re going to eat for dinner, whether or not you got that job promotion, what’s going to happen in the last season of A Game of Thrones… And so our minds wander. Usually, this is not that big a deal; however, it could prove fatal while driving a vehicle.

Ready for a frightening fact? The Erie Insurance Group conducted a study of the 65,000 fatal crashes that occurred from 2010 to 2011. Using the data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they found that one in 10 of these crashes were blamed on driver distraction, and 62 percent of these distractions were attributed to daydreaming. Apparently daydreaming is not so harmless.

It’s important that whenever we are driving a vehicle, or operating any sort of heavy machinery, we remain aware. It’s incredibly easy to slip into a trance and lose track of what we were doing. To help combat the natural tendency to let our minds wander, here are three helpful tips for staying alert behind the wheel.

Staying Alert

  1. Mix up your usual routine by taking different, alternative routes. If you make the same boring commute to work everyday, you will be more easily distracted because of the familiarity. Ever hear the expression, “I could do this in my sleep?” Try to never get to this level of comfort when you’re driving so that you will always be alert. Taking new routes as opposed to familiar ones when driving will help.
  2. Keep your eyes moving. Try not to stare at any one object for more than a few seconds at a time while driving. When we stare at things for too long, we tend to let our minds wander, which increases the possibility of getting in an accident. If you are constantly moving your eyes and looking at different things, you’ll resist this urge.
  3. Chew on something. This may sound a little funny, but chewing on food or gum really helps to keep the mind alert. Crunchy foods are especially effective. I think you can guess why. So next time you go on a long road trip, don’t forget your chips. They could save your life.

Daydreaming while driving can lead to serious and fatal consequences, not just for you, but for everyone on the road. Use these tips to help you stay safe and alert. Don’t get caught in a daydream; it could turn into a nightmare.

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