A new study shows that daydreaming contributes to car accident risk.
The study was executed by the Erie Insurance Group. In the research, the Erie Insurance Group found that you are five times more likely to be in a fatal crash if you were daydreaming than if you were distracted by an electronic device.
This study examined 65,000 fatal accidents that occurred in the U.S. in the past two years. The study found that about 10 percent of these fatal accidents were caused by some form of distracted driving. 12 percent of fatal car accidents were blamed on mobile phone use. Rubbernecking contributed 7 percent of accidents. Other vehicle occupants contributed to 5 percent of accidents. Eating or drinking contributed to 2 percent of car accidents. Distractions such as reaching for an object in the car or adjusting the heater or radio also contributed to fatal car accidents. Pets caused 1 percent of all fatal distracted driving accidents.
Daydreaming or being “lost in thought” contributed to 62% of the fatal crashes. Usually, daydreaming does not affect the car speed. It usually does not affect lane positioning or the distance between cars. Daydreaming affects drivers by delaying reaction time. Drivers that are daydreaming tend to stay at one speed longer instead of slowing down or speeding up when appropriate. Daydreaming drivers often also forget to check their side mirrors and blind spots. Instead, daydreaming drivers just look forward. Daydreaming drivers may also not respond in time to avoid cars unexpectedly changing lanes in front of them.
To combat daydreaming while driving, remember and recognize the risks of daydreaming while driving. Knowledge and awareness are key to prevent daydreaming while driving. Remind yourself how dangerous driving can be. This can help you remain focused on the road. Drive defensively while on the road. Look for any drivers that look dangerous drivers weaving in and out of traffic. Defensive driving will keep you alert and focused on the road.
Visual cues in your car can help you snap out of a day dream. It is incredibly easy to suddenly daydream during your commute. You are probably thinking about what you have to do at work or what you want to eat for dinner. Eventually, your brain becomes programmed to daydream while driving. A visual cue in your car can help you snap out of any daydream. Experts recommend tying a colored string to your rearview mirror or sticking a unique sticker to you dashboard. The bright colors will bring you back to reality.
Ask your passengers to help you. Passengers are usually looking at the road, but they keep quiet because they do not want to be a backseat driver. Tell them to help you, and they can help you stay focused on the road.