Daydreaming could be responsible for up to 62 percent of car crashes, a new study suggests, making it five times more fatal to be “lost in thought” than using an electronic device while driving.
The study, conducted by the Erie Insurance Group, reviewed 65,000 accidents that took place in the last two years. Ten percent of those, they said, were the result of distractions while driving, like texting. A shocking 62 percent were related to daydreaming.
“The results were disturbing,” Erie Senior Vice President Doug Smith said.
Rear-ending other drivers, missing curves in the road, or running a red light are just a few things drivers “lost in thought” did.
Only 12 percent of the crashes studied were believed to be caused by use of a mobile device. Other forms of distraction on the road included rubbernecking, 7 percent; kids or other occupants in the vehicle, 5 percent; eating or drinking, 2 percent; reaching for an object in the car, 2 percent; and pets, 1 percent.
"Distracted driving is any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off your primary task of driving safely," said Smith. "We looked at what law enforcement officers across the country reported when they filled out reports on fatal crashes and the results were disturbing. We hope the data will encourage people to avoid these high-risk behaviors that needlessly increase their risk of being involved in a fatal crash."
Fiddling with vehicle controls, like the air conditioner, was also a minor factor in distractions that led to fatal traffic incidents.
Still, Erie says drivers should always pull over their car to text. Simply because it’s not causing the lion’s share of car accidents, doesn’t make texting while driving safe.
A State Farm study reported last November found that nearly one half of drivers under age 29 used the internet while driving at least once a month.