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How to Avoid “Zoning Out” While Driving

How to Avoid “Zoning Out” While Driving

Staying focused behind the wheel is always crucial. But it’s not always easy. In fact, distracted drivers cause far too many accidents, and all of these crashes are 100 percent preventable. On a daily basis, at least 8 people in the U.S. are killed by a distracted driver.1

Sometimes, the distraction may be from a cellphone. Other times, the distraction may simply be that a driver has “zoned out.” When that happens, motorists can have “inattention blindness,” which can cause them to miss seeing or perceiving things despite looking directly at them.

For those who on the roads regularly – like truckers, fighting the tendency to zone out can be especially challenging and all the more essential. To help all drivers stay focused, here are some helpful tips for staying alert and not zoning out behind the wheel.

5 Tips to Help You Avoid Zoning Out While Driving

  1. Take new routes: It’s far easier for motorists’ minds to wander when they’re driving the same routes day in and day out. They’re used to the roads, they know what to expect, and they’re not having to use a lot of their attention span to navigate their way. So, try driving new routes when you can to fight the tendency to zone out. This may not always be possible, but when it is, it can be an effective way to keep yourself attentive behind the wheel.
  2. Try to drive during the day: Night driving can be another catalyst to zoning out. When it’s dark out, there’s not much to look at through the windshield, and that can send drivers’ minds off wandering. So, whenever you can plan trips around daylight hours, do so. It’s another great way to set yourself up for a focused, safe trip.

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  1. Don’t get behind the wheel when you aren’t rested: Although fatigue doesn’t always mean that your mind will wander while driving, it certainly doesn’t help you stay alert. So, whenever possible, avoid driving when you feel fatigued or exhausted. A tired mind is more likely to lose focus faster and for longer periods of time. On the roads, that can quickly lead to disaster.
  2. Never drive when you’re intoxicated: Drugs and alcohol can both impair your perception and focus. While it’s against the law to drive while impaired, it’s incredibly dangerous, as it hampers your ability to stay alert, as well as properly perceive and respond to your surroundings.
  3. Be conscious of when you do zone out: The more you’re aware of what causes you to zone out and when you do it, the better you’ll be at pulling back your focus and avoiding the situations that cause your mind to wander. So, try to take a more proactive approach to recognize when, why, and how your mind wanders when you’re behind the wheel. And whenever it does happen, think about what will keep you focused, whether it’s a cup of coffee, a short break at a rest stop, or something else to fight the zone out.

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