b'The SHI s m The SHIELDELD smUpcoming 2022 WPMAEXPO Presidential Sponsor & Educational Session Presenter for Business OwnersRisk ManagementE VALUATE Your Mental State Behind the WheelAt times, our thoughts can feel like theyre racing faster than the traffic around us while were on the roadbut letting our minds stray behind the wheel is a form of distracted driving. Mental distractions can be just as dangerous as physical ones, whether were consumed by anger, worry, and stress, or just simply letting our minds wander.This wandering is also known as inatten-Multi-tasking is a myth. Studies havetion blindness, or looking but not see- proven that our minds can only focus ing. You may have experienced inatten- on one thing at a time. 1tion blindness if youve suddenly found Take a few deep breaths whenyourself pulling into your destinationfeeling strong emotions.and wondering how you got there. This Never engage with aggressiveautopilot mindset means that your brain was less focused on the important task ofdrivers on the roademotionallydriving safely, leading to slower reactionor physically. times behind the wheel. If weather permits, open a window Mental distractions to be mindful of whilefor fresh air to help stay alert.driving include:Listen to the radio as a less interfer- ing task alternative. 2WorryingDaydreaming Plan ahead: have directions ready, check the weather, and pack allneeded items before leaving.Strong emotions, including road rage Being too caught up in music or Take care to not zone out when podcasts driving on familiar roads or routes. They may know the road, but they Overly engaging in conversation cant anticipate the actions of other vehicles, pedestrians, or animals.General stressors, such as the pan-demic, family matters, or future plansTake personal accountability for their mental state behind the wheel. Only Driving with intention can be a safe waythey will recognize when inattention This article is for blindness starts, so it is their respon-general information andto combat inattention blindness. Driv-risk prevention only anders who are in tune with their personalsibility to stay focused on the road.should not be consideredAbove all else, remind them that you legal or other expert advice.mental state and who use situational The recommendationsawareness can better anticipate thewant them to make it home safe today herein may help reduce, butactions of others on the road and reactand being cognitively aware and present are not guaranteed to elimi- while driving can help prevent a devastat-nate, any or all risk of loss.appropriately. April is Distracted Driving The information herein mayAwareness Month and an excellent timeing crash and save livesso evaluate your be subject to, and is not ato teach company drivers about inatten- mental state before you drive.substitute for, any laws or regulations that may apply.tion blindness and remind them:Qualified counsel should be sought with questions spe- 1 Understanding Driver Distraction, National Safety Council, 2020 https://www.nsc.org/ cific to your circumstances.road-safety/safety-topics/distracted-driving/distracted-brain 2021 Federated Mutual2 Driving and Multitasking: The Good, the Bad, and the Dangerous, by Menno Nijboer, Insurance Company.Jelmer P. Borst, Hedderik van Rijm, and Niels A. Taatgen, frontiers in Psychology, Published Date: 2016https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5100650/ SMarch 16, 2021WPMA News / Summer 202141'