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Mind Wandering Increases Car Accident Risks

by Jose G. “Joey” Gonzalez, Jr. on 01/31/2013

Everyone has those moments while driving when you temporarily zone out, thinking of work, your family, and everything else, but driving.  However, just because those moments are normal, doesn't make them safe.  According to a new study conducted by French researchers, as many as 50% of all car accidents are probably linked to persons daydreaming while driving.

The French researchers analyzed 955 motorists, who had been involved in an injurious accident. The researchers determined that the person was daydreaming by asking 2 separate questions about what the person was thinking of at the time of the accident.

The researchers found that in 17% of the accidents, the person was daydreaming, or his mind was wandering at the time of the accident.  What is most worrying to Texas car accident attorneys is the fact that drivers reported some amount of mind wandering while driving in approximately 50% of the cases.  However, it was only in about 121 of these accidents, that the daydreaming was found to be seriously disrupting or distracting.

According to the researchers, a person has a much higher chance of being involved in an accident or causing an accident if his mind is on other things than driving. 

This is another facet of the distracted driving debate, which does not seem to have received much attention from the media.  Daydreaming may seem perfectly normal, but when a person is daydreaming, he or she is not concentrating on the task at hand - driving.  Persons who perform tasks with repetitive or monotonous motions - like driving - may be much more likely to daydream. 

There isn't much that can be done to control daydreaming by motorists.  However, auto safety technologies like lane departure warning systems could possibly alert a motorist whose mind is wandering.

Tags: Automobile Accidents, Distracted Driving, Texas

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