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Drivers Lament; Wait! How Did I Get Here?

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On: Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 1:54PM | By: Karen Cook

Drivers Lament; Wait! How Did I Get Here?

A recent report by the Erie Insurance Group has uncovered some very disturbing information. 65,000 fatal accident reports were studied from a two-year period (2010 – 2011) and there was one cause of the crashes that outnumbered texting or talking on the phone by 5 to 1. Was it drunk driving? Nope. Maybe it was falling asleep at the wheel. Wrong again. Speeding? Another good guess but the answer doesn’t concern any of the irresponsible behavior we’ve come to associate with car accidents.

Before I give you the answer let me tell you a story. Between 2003 and 2012 my sons and I were Annual Passholders at Disney. We went to the parks several times a month and the route was understandably very familiar. I was driving alone to Orlando one afternoon and I was listening to the news on the radio. The story ended and I suddenly realized I had taken the Disney exit off the interstate without meaning to. It was not the exit I needed and I actually didn’t remember getting off the highway. I blamed it on my car since this was the route it was used to taking. What really happened and what does this have to do with the report?

The answer to all these questions is daydreaming. Letting your mind wander while driving. It could be the radio or thinking about a problem at work or an argument you had with your spouse. Your mind focuses itself in another direction and suddenly you aren’t truly aware of your driving. According to the report, this is very dangerous. How do you stop it if you aren’t aware you are doing it?

The first step is to realize that it happens to most of us, especially on familiar roads or long trips. Just recognizing the danger will help you stay more focused on the road. You can also play out possibilities in your head about what you would do if the car in the next lane crossed over the line or if the truck in front of you slammed on its brakes. It’s also a good idea to change up your driving routes occasionally. It’s harder to get bored and complacent on unfamiliar roads.


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