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Dangerous Daydreaming? New Study Finds Wandering Minds Can Auto Accidents

April is National Distracted Driving Month. As the month comes to an end, our Illinois auto accident attorneys would like to warn you of a dangerous distraction you may not have considered.

We have posted a number of articles about distracted driving. We’ve written about cell phones, texting, eating, drinking, pets, children, electronic devices and numerous other distractions.  But, we never thought about daydreaming. But, according to new research from the Erie Insurance Group and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), you are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident if you are daydreaming than if you are distracted by an electronic device.

The insurance company looked at the causes of 65,000 fatal accidents that occurred in the U.S. in 2010 and 2011.  About ten percent of the fatal accidents were caused by some form of distracted driving. This is consistent with Department of Transportation estimates. The surprise came when the investigators looked at the causes of distraction.

Most of us assume that texting and talking on cell phones are the major cause of driver distractions. But, the Erie Insurance study found that this just isn’t true. Here are the top causes of fatal distracted driving accidents in 2010 and 2011:

  1. Daydreaming: The driver was lost in thought (62%)
  2. Cell phones: The driver was dialing, talking, listening, or texting (12%)
  3. External distractions: The driver was looking at a person, object or event outside his vehicle (7%)
  4. Other occupants: The driver was distracted by children or others in the car (5%)
  5. Reaching: Reaching for an object that was brought into the vehicle such as a GPS (2%)
  6. Food: Eating or drinking (2%)
  7. Adjusting controls: Adjusting the temperature or sound system (2%)
  8. Internal devices: Adjusting mirrors, seats, or using an internal GPS (1%)
  9. Moving object in vehicle: Pets, insects, etc. (1%)
  10. Smoking (1%)

When you drive, your hands should be on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your mind on driving. Any activity that shifts your attention away from the road can be considered a distraction. We all daydream, but daydreaming behind the wheel can cause injury and death. 

If you are a victim of an Illinois distracted driving accident, you need to protect your rights. Learn more in your free copy of The Ultimate Guide For Automobile Accident Victims. If you have questions, or would like to discuss your own case with a Rockford injury lawyer, please contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678.


Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham