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The Leading Car Accident Risk That No One Talks about

Everyone knows of the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, but there is yet another driving distraction that most people in Georgia are not aware of – daydreaming.

Most of us would not consider daydreaming to be a dangerous activity.  However, driving while daydreaming significantly increases your risk of being involved in an accident.  In fact, driving while daydreaming is one of the leading causes of accidents.  Unfortunately, most people may not even realize the dangers associated with driving while daydreaming since it is something most of us do at the wheel at one point or another.

New research shows that most people are likely to daydream when they are behind the wheel, especially when driving familiar routes.   In a recent study, participants submitted to a driving simulation and had their brain activity analyzed during the simulation.  The researchers found that people’s minds were more likely to wander, i.e. daydream, when they were involved in a routine driving activity such as driving the same route several times as opposed to driving in unfamiliar settings.  The daydreaming occurred more than 70% of the time during the study.  Even more concerning was the finding that the participants were only aware that they were distracted approximately 65% of the time.

For obvious reasons, being alert is an absolute must for safe driving. If you are daydreaming, you are most likely not focusing on the task of driving and, therefore, less likely to react and be able to make the kind of quick and reflexive actions that are needed to prevent an accident and avoid an emergency. A person who is daydreaming is also much less likely to observe and register possible accident cues such as a pedestrian darting out from the side, a bicyclist changing lanes or a car that comes to a sudden stop in front of him.

Researchers speculate that self-driving cars could eliminate the risks of driving while daydreaming and help reduce the number of accidents on the roads.  These cars could take over routine driving tasks, while the driver could take over driving in situations that require more attention to the road.  In an area such as metro Atlanta, this could be a tremendous help in reducing the number of accidents that occur in Atlanta, especially during rush hour, some of which result in catastrophic injuries.  So as your teacher always told you, stop daydreaming and pay attention.  This could make the difference between being in or avoiding an accident.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.