Daydreaming is something that most people do. They start to gaze off into space while thinking about things other than what they’re doing. This is fine if someone is sitting at a desk or relaxing at home, but daydreaming when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle is extremely dangerous.
Daydreaming is such a great risk that researchers have looked into it as a cause of collisions. While most people think that the most significant distraction from driving might be eating and drinking, talking on the phone or other bad habits, the reality is that daydreaming may be worse than them all.
According to an analysis of federal traffic safety data, daydreaming is the biggest cause of distracted driving crashes. Fortunately, there are simple tips that can help you stay focused on the road and avoid a crash.
How can you minimize the risk of daydreaming while behind the wheel?
One of the best ways to avoid daydreaming while behind the wheel is to find something else that is stimulating to do while driving. Of course, this new stimulation also needs to be minor enough that it doesn’t cause a distraction itself.
What works? Some suggestions include play a word game or listening to a radio program, because these activities stimulate your mind while remaining less distracting than talking on the phone.
This kind of engagement is called passive engagement. It still makes you pay attention to the radio or game you’re playing, but you don’t have to do much to remain engaged. At the same time, your hands and eyes are free to participate in driving, and you can pay attention to the road while also enjoying music or thinking about a word.
There is no such thing as multitasking behind the wheel for most people, but by balancing what you do in your vehicle against the risk of daydreaming, you can reduce the risk of a crash without getting distracted. If you do find that you’re too distracted to drive or are feeling drowsy, pull over. You can rest and start driving again once you’re able to focus on the road.