Friday, September 17, 2010

The Dangers of Driving on "Autopilot"

Human beings are prone to operating on "autopilot." Especially on familiar roads, our minds wander away from our immediate task to other things. It is virtually impossible to keep this from occurring, but it is important to recognize it and bring our attention back to what we're doing as often as possible -- especially if what we happen to be doing is piloting a 3,000 lb piece of machinery down the road at a brisk pace.

One of the most important aspects of defensive driving is recognizing impending hazards BEFORE they become a problem for you. Early recognition allows the time you need to avoid trouble. It is vitally important that you recognize and become IMMEDIATELY aware of what you see while driving. It is thinking about the possibility the ball rolling across the road may be chased by a child, that a vehicle approaching on an adjacent roadway may not stop at a cross street, and not being so deeply lost in thought that you fail to see a "no turn" sign, or a partially hidden railroad crossing up ahead. Use your EYES to see, and your MIND to analyze what you see for potential dangers.

Contributor: Ross C. Lewis, SEA Safety Office

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