How often have you driven to your destination and not even remembered the journey you just took?
This is called ‘complacency driving’ and it contributes to more unintentional deaths on our roads than anything else, especially when you combine it with rushing, frustration or fatigue.
How do people get so complacent that they will do something they know contributes to making a mind-not-on-task error, such as texting while driving?
Doing something over and over again, such as driving the same route to work each day, can lead to this tendency to drive on autopilot. We get overconfident that nothing will happen, but in fact we all need to recognise and accept that driving is always potentially risky. Even a good driver with many years of experience can be involved in a crash.
Developing low-risk driving habits for fighting complacency is more than just reducing
associated common driving errors, it’s about developing a deep respect for complacency and what it can detrimentally do to our decision making.
Safe habits are needed even when there is no hint of imminent danger. A good swimmer may be less inclined to wear a lifejacket just as a ‘good’ driver might be less inclined to keep a safe following distance or ‘set up their brakes’ for random and unique hazards on each journey, because the last time they went driving they didn’t need to.
Working on your daily driving-related habits can help with complacency driving as it keeps your mind active on the task at hand. Actions such as looking in your mirrors regularly, ‘setting up’ your brakes and ensuring you maintain the three-second gap from the car in front all help keep your mind active whilst driving.
Do you make an effort to try and keep your mind active and present while driving?