Daydreaming While DrivingSeptember 25, 2017
Most drivers would not dispute the fact that taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds can have very dangerous consequences. The same can be said for allowing your mind to wander, causing you to be less attentive and more likely to make a careless mistake that can have devastating consequences. Whether you are stressed about something at work, preoccupied about family issues, or simply daydreaming about an upcoming vacation, this form of distracted driving can be just as dangerous.
Distracted driving was responsible for approximately 391,000 injuries, and 3,477 fatalities in the United States in 2015. Mind wandering is considered a form of distracted driving because the person’s internal thoughts are preventing them from focusing all of their attention on the road. However, unlike texting, talking on the phone, or reaching for something in the back seat, we cannot always prevent our minds from wandering.
Researchers from George Mason University conducted a study about how frequently people daydream while behind the wheel and whether it should be considered a potential driving hazard. The study group included nine adults who participated in a driving simulation task for five days in a row. The task involved driving down a straight, repetitious highway at the same speed for 20 minutes each day, twice a day. The simulation was meant to replicate a typical commute to work. Between each simulated commute, participants were required to complete a Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART). The SART is a written test that provided researchers with valuable information about whether participants were more likely to daydream on their way home from work than on their way to work.
Measuring Cognitive Activity
Each subject’s brain activity was measured using an electroencephalogram, which identified the change in electrical patterns that occurred if the subject’s mind began to wander. Participants also heard a buzzer at random times during their trips. When they heard the buzzer, they were asked if their mind was wandering just prior to the sound of the buzzer, and if they had been aware of their mind wandering. Researchers found that participants reported that their minds wandered approximately 70 percent of the time they were driving, especially during the second trip of the day.
While researchers were unable to confirm whether mind wandering is hazardous while driving, they did identify brain patterns that are associated with reduced receptiveness to external stimuli. This suggests that mind wandering can have a negative impact on a driver’s ability to concentrate while driving. As a result, researchers believe that further research into this issue is warranted.
Baltimore Car Wreck Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Car Accidents
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident involving a distracted driver who was not paying attention to the road, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car wreck lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. There are many forms of distracted driving, and it is an issue we take very seriously. Protecting your rights is our main priority and we will work tirelessly to secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
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