In a study done in 2017 by Cédric Gil-Jardiné, et al., it was found that ‘mind wandering’ was the biggest risk factor for car accidents and trauma due to the driver’s lowered attention to the task at hand. This phenomenon of ‘zoning out’ on the road often occurs when we are engaged in a task that is no longer stimulating to us—and who experiences this more than fatigued truckers? Often stuck having to drive for hundreds of miles a day for long hours can wear down the mind quickly—especially if you’ve been driving down a boring road with little to look at. However, while losing your focus while you drive may be natural, it is still very dangerous—as Gil-Jardiné points out.
At Roane Transportation, we are committed to the safety and well-being of all our drivers which is why we have gathered a few helpful tips and tricks to keep your mind sharp while you’re out on your next drive.
Dr. Jonathan Schooler, Ph.D., who is with the Department of Psychology and Brain Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, claims that meditation is the most well-researched practice known to help with mind wandering. Practicing meditation has many benefits—including sharpening the control of your attention. This helps to train your mind to become aware of when it begins to drift off.
In an ideal world, you should try to meditate for at least 10 minutes every day—either before you start your drive or after you have ended your day as well as during your breaks. This will help you to yield the best results. An easy place to start your meditation process is with your breath by noticing how you can deepen it and how that helps to clear your mind. When you find your mind wandering, simply notice it and let it pass on your next exhale. You’ll find that even meditating for just 10 minutes a day can add up after a while, and it will show as you find a little more awareness each time your mind begins to wander.
Another easy practice to get in the habit of doing while you drive is meta-awareness. This is often described as the ability to observe your thoughts, feelings, sensations and impulses as they are happening. For instance, if you find that you are driving down the road and you notice your thoughts are starting to wander elsewhere, you can use this moment to practice meta-awareness. Pause your thought, focus your attention back on the road, and then see if you can remember to follow through on what you were thinking about. Then, let it go and continue your drive. This shows how meta-awareness can help us to organize our thoughts while we are driving by taking a step back to observe what’s happening to us, rather than getting caught up in the endless current our wandering minds can take us to.
As Schooler points out, our minds tend to wander when we are engaged in an activity that we do not find stimulating. Therefore, another practical outlet to combat dangerous mind wandering would be to supplement our attention with another activity that we find stimulating to make up for what our environment lacks. We recommend downloading an app like Audible where you can listen to novels as you drive or streaming some of your favorite podcasts. Perhaps you could even find one on meditation to help you with your own practice!
You would think that getting wrapped up in the story of the book or in the conversation on your podcast would lead to further mind wandering and loss of attention, but Schooler notes that the opposite would happen. He claims that while your mind is still likely to wander when you’re reading an exciting book– you’re actually more likely to mind-wander on the boring drive. This is because the engaging content of the audiobook or podcast will keep your thoughts clear and make practicing meta-awareness easier as opposed to having no stimulation at all.
Why Do We Care?
Something as far removed from running a transportation company as this may seem odd for a fleet management group to harp on, but here at Roane Transportation—we’re different. For starters, we are not your average transportation company. With a large emphasis on flatbed trucking, oversize hauling, and warehousing, our CDL drivers undergo much more intensive and rigorous training to provide some of the best logistical services in the country. Therefore, we want to make sure all our driver’s minds are sharp and ready to handle even the most complex transportation services. Not to mention, we understand the importance of treating our drivers like people and not just numbers.
East Tennessee Trucking Company that Values Our Drivers and Their Safety
With more than ample pay and guaranteed weekly home time, you can be sure that when you drive for Roane Transportation you will hardly find yourself getting too brain fried and burnt out on the road. No more cramming hours for extra cash. No more mind wandering. Visit our website today to fill out an online application to join our fleet or call us today at 865-345-3288 to see what Roane Transportation is all about.