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Why Daydreaming Is a Subtle and Dangerous Form of Distracted Driving

Daydreaming is a form of distracted driving that may be much more dangerous than people realize.

When we talk about distracted driving, most of us immediately think of mobile devices and how they’ve become almost attached to us. Of course, drivers are aware of the many other forms of distractions when behind the wheel, such as an intense conversation, noisy passengers, loud music, and even insects that accidentally get into the car. However, there’s another form of distractions we might not be fully aware of: daydreaming

daydreaming car accident

A series of experiments conducted by researchers from the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia found that daydreaming had a significant incidence amongst drivers, who were concentrating on something else than driving for about 39% of the time, and impacted their ability to react to external stimuli and to adapt their speed to the traffic conditions. 

Daydreaming is not easy to demonstrate as the cause of traffic accidents, since it’s so broadly defined and usually lacks physical evidence to verify it, but data suggests that it’s grossly underreported and much more impactful than we may think. 

Why Does Our Mind Wander off When Driving?

Concentrating on driving alone when behind the wheel is obviously a requirement for cautious driving, but it’s very easy to get lost in thoughts, especially on long drives, when tired, or stressed by a difficult situation in your life. 

Our modern lifestyles and activities got us much more engaged in multiple projects, always connected to our social groups, being constantly entertained by our devices, regardless of our age or driving experience. Our brain is trying to be creative and entertain itself by wandering towards subjects of interest when we perform dull activities. In other words, driving might get boring and your mind starts to wander. 

How to Prevent Zoning Out When Driving?

When you’re driving, you can minimize the chances of daydreaming by keeping mental distractions away: your favorite songs played loudly, engaging conversations with others, an active mobile device that sends notifications, food that you can smell and see, etc. It might seem like an exaggeration, but these little things can make you think of something else than driving, and stimulate parts of your brain that are not task-oriented. 

It’s not easy to prevent your mind from wandering during a monotonous task, such as driving on a highway, since it’s what your brain naturally does. However, the most effective way of preventing a catastrophe caused by daydreaming while driving is to catch yourself doing it and going back in the zone. 

Practicing mindfulness and meditation are proven to be highly effective in being able to recognize when your thoughts are drifting away and getting back to your primary task. Besides taking measures to prevent zoning out when driving, we also recommend getting the proper auto insurance coverage for any unfortunate event.

Involved in a Distracted Driving Accident in St. Louis, MO?

Have you been hit by another driver? Whether he was daydreaming or just plain negligent, the burden of proving fault falls on your shoulders. It can be quite a challenge, especially if you also have injuries and medical bills to worry about. 

Get in touch with an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer to learn more about your legal rights and to ensure that your legal right to compensation is protected.

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Updated: October 29, 2021