For many drivers, it is second nature, especially when they are on a familiar and long commute. Daydreaming or letting the mind wander when you’re behind the wheel, is a far more common activity than many of us realize. It is also extremely dangerous and can place you at high risk of being involved in a severe accident.
A new study finds that most people daydream while driving, and many don’t even realize that their mind has been wandering. Researchers put participants in driving simulation and monitored the electrical activity in their brains. The simulations were routine and were designed to mimic the participants’ commute home. Earlier studies also show that people’s minds are much more likely to wander when they are driving on a long and familiar route, than when they are on an unfamiliar route. In this particular study, the participants’ minds wandered approximately 70% of the time, while they were aware of the distraction only 65% of the time.
Such high levels of distraction can be hazardous behind the wheel, even though they do not involve the use of an electronic device. A driver doesn’t have to be sending a text or e-mail to be so distracted that you cause an accident. Being so mentally distracted that you fail to spot a vehicle entering from your right, or other such accident cues can prove equally devastating.