Motorists with years of driving experience might question the need to improve their driving skills. “Doing” is the best way to get better at something, right? Well, yes and no. It is true that you can’t excel at anything without direct practice. However, practice alone will make you plateau. This is why athletes do specific exercises to improve their performance, and driving a car isn’t any different.
The exercises described below aren’t a rehash of your high school driver’s ed courses. Instead, they are exercises that are enjoyable or useful in their own right, and won’t require use of your car.
Play Video Games
That’s right. That much maligned couch potato activity is exercise after all. However, rather than reducing waist size, its main benefit is its effect on your brain. An important aspect of driving safety is your reaction time. Sometimes, careful and defensive driving isn’t enough because unexpected events will happen on the road. A fast and appropriate reaction is your last-ditch defense against a car accident.
Reaction speed is the time required for your brain to process a visual signal and send the right messages to your muscles. Video games intensely exercise the brain to do precisely that. The brain is highly adaptable, which is why your skill and speed at a game improve with practice. This improved reaction speed will also benefit other activities, such as your driving.
Play Tennis, Ping Pong, or Racquetball
These sports demand focus in a dynamic situation and improve eye-hand coordination. Unlike video games, they improve your spatial awareness of the real world outside your body. Your increased spatial awareness will improve your ability to keep track of the road situation in front, behind, and beside your car while driving.
Try This Focus Exercise
A simple focus exercise described here will improve your ability to resist distraction. Even if you don’t make cell phone calls, text, or fiddle with your GPS while driving, daydreaming or thinking about other things can be equally distracting. The more intense these distracted thoughts, the more your awareness of the road diminishes.
You can discipline your mind to remain focused on the “here and now,” and quickly disengage from distracting thoughts. Total concentration on one thing such as your breath is a difficult thing to sustain for even a few minutes. However, with continued practice, you’ll get better. What is the exercise? Simply focus on your breath, notice when your mind wanders, disconnect from the distraction, and resume focus on your breath. Yoga will improve your focus as well.
Don’t hesitate to consult with the experienced lawyers at Hogan Injury should a distracted driver injure you in a car accident. Contact us today.