Erie Insurance shares ways to combat distracted driving

Insurer notes that drivers have to find ways to stay alert while on the road to prevent getting distracted

Erie Insurance shares ways to combat distracted driving

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

Following up on the publication of its distracted driving report earlier this month, Erie Insurance has issued another release that details ways in which drivers can reduce distractions.

The insurer’s earlier report found that distracted driving kills over 172,000 people a year. The same report found that, based on police data, “daydreaming” or being “lost in thought” is the top distraction associated with fatal car crashes.

“Daydreaming behind the wheel is common because driving has become so routine, and many people see it as a time to just relax,” commented Erie Insurance vice-president of personal auto Jon Bloom. “Texting and driving is still very dangerous, and no-one should do it, ever, but we also want to make drivers aware of daydreaming as a less understood driving distraction.”

Erie Insurance reached out to cognitive behavioral researcher Paul Atchley, Ph.D. to offer some tips on how drivers can stay alert behind the wheel. Atchley came up with the following recommendations:

  • Drivers should try listening to a podcast or radio show – Passive forms of entertainment, like listening to a radio show or a podcast, can keep your brain alert. But avoid listening to anything too familiar (such as the same playlist of songs again and again), as it could lead to your mind drifting off.
  • Try old-fashioned road games – Verbal road games such as “I Spy” allow drivers to focus on the roadway.
  • Ask a friend to ride along – Carpooling with another experienced driver can help; a co-driver can serve as a second set of eyes in traffic and can spot hazards.

Atchley also recommended having a conversation with another passenger, but not with someone on the phone.

“A conversation on a cell phone is very different than a conversation with a passenger,” he explained. “Sure, they both occupy your brain, but that cell phone conversation isn’t going to stop when traffic gets heavy, whereas the conversation with the passenger will.”


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