Distraction part 1

the ‘What just happened?’ moment

The charity Brake has some good info on the subject of distracted driving.

Picture the scene [already you’re heading into distracted driver territory…]

It’s an average, busy morning; bit late getting up, it’s been a mad rush to get yourself / the kids / breakfast / packed lunches / cats / etc sorted. Your head’s spinning and it’s only just gone 8am. And now you’re facing the daily slog of the commute. Let’s fact it, going back to bed seems a much nicer prospect.

But in the car you get, mind still racing as you pull out of the drive – ‘did the kids pick up their lunches? Did they have their PE kits? What was it they said on the news this morning about the virus? Was it today your sister’s coming over? Wonder what her partner’s doing now, is he still working in Birmingham? How did Liverpool get on last night? Hope the weather picks up for the weekend…’

And, bam, you pull up outside work!

Well, that journey didn’t turn out too bad. Only took 20 minutes door to door, kept the speed up, no real hassle… didn’t really have to stop at all in fact…well, not that you recall…you think…

‘Actually, how the heck did I get here??!’

It’s a very, very disconcerting feeling, and [I’d be willing to put a few quid on this] one that you, as a driver, have had at some point.

You’ve basically driven a [usually] familiar route on auto pilot; you’ve done all the right things [you imagine] control-wise, such as negotiate complex junctions and roundabouts; you’ve obeyed the traffic lights and other signals [you guess] and you even managed to stick to the speed limits [you hope]

But you still cannot remember much about the journey, because your brain has been anywhere but in the car and on the road.

They won, by the way 😉

Now I’m not the person to be sitting here saying distraction is always a bad thing. As a bit of a daydreamer myself, I know the value of allowing the mind to wonder, especially when to be in the reality of ‘the moment’ is perhaps too much. It’s fair to say also that I used to allow that to happen far too often when I drove prior to training to become an Adi, sometimes with serious consequences.

But what my Adi training did teach me that RTC’s didn’t, was that distraction when driving is a very bad thing, and that I needed to – had to – do everything I could to try to prevent it. [It’s important, of course, to remember that like most potential pitfalls when driving, it’s near impossible to completely eliminate distraction from driving. We’re human after all]

So I’ve picked up a few focusing techniques, ones that I do my best to share with my trainees in the car, and in the next post I’ll share them on here. In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Hopefully, though, you’re now more aware of the problem, and as we all know, that’s half the battle won 🙂

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