Motorists in California and around the country know that using a cellphone while driving can cause motor vehicle accidents, but they may not be aware that becoming lost in thought behind the wheel could be just as dangerous. The results of a study conducted in 2018 by an auto insurance company suggest that daydreaming is more distracting for drivers than making phone calls or sending text messages, and it may be the primary cause of many a distracted driving MVA.
Talk radio and golden oldies
Drivers sometimes allow their minds to wander when they hear a song that evokes cherished or painful memories or listen to talk radio shows and get caught up in the debate, but daydreaming behind the wheel is more often caused by a phenomenon scientists call highway hypnosis. If you have ever reached your destination or pulled up at a traffic light only to realize that you cannot remember the last few miles, you probably experienced highway hypnosis.
This happens when motorists drive on familiar roads or take long monotonous journeys. Fatigue can make people more susceptible to highway hypnosis, but even drivers who are fully alert can allow their subconscious minds to take over when what they see is familiar to them. This is because the mind begins to rely on expectations rather than sensory input in these situations, which makes drivers less alert and less capable in emergency situations. Drinking coffee, opening a window or playing loud music do little to keep a drowsy driver awake, but they may prevent them from succumbing to highway hypnosis.
Distracted driving accident lawsuits
If you are injured in a car accident and the driver who caused the crash did not brake or take evasive action, there are several ways that an experienced personal injury attorney pursuing compensation on your behalf could look for evidence of distraction. An attorney could use a subpoena to obtain the driver’s wireless service records to see if they were using a cellphone when they crashed, and they may also check their medical history to find out if they could have been under the influence of drugs that cause inattentiveness.