A new study published in the British Medical Journal has concluded that mind-wandering can contribute to car accidents. The study’s authors spoke with 955 injured drivers who were admitted to Emergency Rooms. In 47% of cases, researchers determined that the injured driver was the at-fault driver and in half of those cases the driver was engaged in mind wandering before the crash. In 13% of cases, the mind wandering intense and disruptive. According to researchers, mind wandering involves thinking about tasks other than the task at hand.
While drivers are aware that drunk driving accidents in Miami Springs and across Florida claim lives and while motorists are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of texting and driving, experts agree that there is less awareness about the other types of distractions. While much has been written in the media about mobile devices causing truck accidents in Miami Springs and across the nation, there is less public awareness of the fact that any distraction – even emotional distraction – can lead to roadway accidents.
When we are not mindful while driving, our full focus is not on the road. We may miss important information – such as traffic lights or pedestrians – because we are not paying attention. This can easily lead to a collision. There are many things that truck drivers and motorists can do to prevent mind wandering:
1) Avoid excessive driving. Of course, truck drivers have hours of service rules that are designed to ensure that drivers get adequate rest. Non-commercial drivers in passenger vehicles, however, need to be responsible to themselves in ensuring they get enough rest and frequent breaks when driving. It’s harder to keep focus on driving over very long distances, so if you travel often you can prevent truck and car accidents in Miami Springs or in your community by making stops to rest.
2) Find savvy ways to deal with emotional problems. In many cases, our minds wander because we have a worry or concern gnawing at us. Rather than just thinking about the problem, try discussing it with a trusted friend or writing in a journal about it. Dealing with issues rather than mulling them over is more productive – and safer if you are driving.
3) Get in the habit of evaluating your emotional state often. If your mind tends to wander often or you tend to daydream while driving, set up some system for evaluating your emotional state as you drive. You could evaluate your focus at every stop light, for example. Frequently reminding yourself that you need to focus fully on driving can break the daydreaming habit.
4) Get plenty of sleep. It is much harder to focus when you are tired, and fatigued driving has been linked to traffic accidents in Miami Springs and across the country. Adequate rest will make you a safer driver.
If you have been injured in a traffic accident in Miami Springs or anywhere in South Florida, contact the Flaxman Law Group to arrange for a free consultation to discuss your case.