Daydreaming While Driving More Deadly Than Texting, Says Study

Daydreaming while driving is more dangerous than you might expect.

A new study says drivers are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash because they had daydreamed than if they were distracted by the use of an electronic device.

That’s according to new research by the Erie Insurance Group, which carried out the study just in time for the catchily named National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Of 65,000 fatal accidents that took place in the US over the last two years, the study identified 10 percent as being caused by some form of distracted driving. That’s in line with industry estimates, though there were more surprising discoveries beyond that statistic.

According to the research, 62 percent of the crashes were the result of drivers being “lost in thought.” That description covers drivers failing to notice a lethal curve in the road, rushing through a red light, bumping into the back of another vehicle, or some other driver error. Meanwhile, “mobile phone use” was said to have caused only 12 percent of fatal accidents.

The study listed other forms of distractions including:

> Kids or other vehicle occupants — 5 percent
> Reaching for an object elsewhere in the car — 2 percent
> Rubbernecking — 7 percent
> Eating or drinking — 2 percent

Erie Senior Vice President Doug Smith remarked:

“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. 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.”

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