Don't daydream and drive, it could cost you your life

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by pilotgrrl, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. pilotgrrl

    pilotgrrl Senior Member

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    Erie Insurance, citing its analysis of data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), says that 1 in every 10 fatal crashes involves some form of driver distraction, and of those, 61 percent involved a driver who was daydreaming. That compares to about only 14 percent who were using a mobile phone.

    The insurance company — which said it consulted with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in its analysis — acknowledges that daydreaming is broadly defined and difficult to verify in a fatal crash. The company also notes that phone-related distracted driving is almost certainly underreported. Drivers who are involved in crashes are unlikely to admit that they were using mobile phones, for obvious reasons.

    But in examining data between 2012 and 2016, the company found that in fatal crashes involving at least one distracted driver, the person was said to be “generally distracted” — which means inattentive or careless for an unknown reason — or “lost in thought,” i.e., daydreaming.

    It’s the brain’s attempt to be creative, Atchley said. Instead of staying on task, the mind wanders on its own journey, sometimes finding new associations between ideas.

    “There’s something about spacing out that’s healthy for us,” he said.

    But the shift in attention also means a shift between active regions of the brain, and the brain has difficulty managing both.

    In a study published by the Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Atchley found a strategically timed verbal task helps keep a driver alert during a long trip. The experiment, using a driving simulator and instruments that measure brain activity, involved asking the subjects to free-associate on words spoken to them.

    Some were asked to play the word game only toward the end of the 90-minute drive, while others played the word game every couple of minutes during the drive. Another group listened to “This American Life,” and still another had no verbal task or stimulation at all.

    The researchers found that drivers who played the word game toward the end of their 90-minute drive were the most engaged and alert. They were also less likely to drift out of the lane than drivers who played the word game continuously, listened to “This American Life” or did nothing. Drivers who listened to the radio program performed better than those who had no verbal task and nothing but the open, simulated, road to keep them company.

    Atchley said the sweet spot is finding something that stimulates the mind, but less than the latest lowdown from your friend on a cellphone.

    It’s not the phone, it’s you, Walter Mitty: Daydreaming is the biggest cause of crashes, insurer says
    https://wapo.st/2GQSxh9

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  2. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    I have a suggestion. I've notice you post many of these kind of threads in FHOP but I think this forum: Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News | PriusChat is much more appropriate place for these type of discussions. Many folks avoid FHOP.
     
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  3. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    For my 600 mile trips to my parents, I find NPR the best thing to have on the radio to stay alert.
     
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  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    that whole article is a load of hogwash. daydreaming while driving may be real, but there is no way to quantify it.
    you can check phone records to find out if someone was using the phone during an accident.
     
  5. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Highly skeptical of the entire report because I believe in this statement:

    Difficult to verify? How about impossible?

    Unless, morbidly you have survivors who can attest to the driver drooling and muttering something about Ice Cream or Ferris Wheels right before the crash, I don't see how you determine in a fatal crash whether the driver was daydreaming or not.

    No sane, responsible driver purposely wants to crash, and hopefully also doesn't want to die, therefore one could argue nearly all crashes not caused by mechanical failure, involve some degree of distraction, whether it be from a cell phone, or drifting of focus and attention.

    I would also wonder how this definition connects to overall fatigue and driving tired. Also hard to determine in a fatal crash.
    I know for myself, on long highway drives, I drink energy drinks, purposely, and pull over and actually nap as necessary.

    I think everyone's mind tends to drift, if fatigued and with a lack of sleep.

    But all in all...definitive application of the "daydreaming" as cause label? I think you have to leave it at distraction, loss of concentration and leave it at that.
     
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  6. pilotgrrl

    pilotgrrl Senior Member

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    In my opinion, insurance companies of all kinds are happy to take your money, but will do anything they possibly can to not pay you when you need to make a claim. And so there are studies like this.

    I'm one of those creatures whose back brain needs to have something to do. So, I have NPR on, even if I'm not actively listening to it.

    If I'm going to take a road trip, I Monster up, and stop when I need to. There's absolutely no sense trying to "power through" to get to my destination if I'm tired. Better to sleep now than sleep forever, I don't want to total any more Prii. One was more than enough for me.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  7. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    LOL! I've done the same thing. But NOT when they have that weekend cooking show on.

    I can be wide awake and alert and nothing will put me to sleep faster than a 20 minute discussion on Virgin Olive Oil usage or how to best roast a tomato.
     
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  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i admit to having arrived at a destination, and not remembering how i got there.(n)
     
  9. pilotgrrl

    pilotgrrl Senior Member

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    I think you'd like my local NPR stations. My current local doesn't have any cooking shows, and my original local is home to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. I wouldn't mind Bill Kurtis doing the greeting on my Google Voice to tell people to send a text instead...

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  10. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    I love to listen to some things on NPR but unfortunately I'm not in the right place at the right time to listen to it all that often anymore. I find it interesting timing this discussion is going on right now, though, because of my drives Sunday afternoon and Monday this week. I went over to Bullhead City, AZ to pick up a friend for surgery near here and then take him home. Most of the time in the CD changer were

    1. Light Moments About Lutherans (Garrison Keillor)
    2. Winter Stories from the Collection "News from Lake Wobegon" (Garrison Keillor)
    3. & 4. Prairie Home Comedy - Radio Songs and Sketches (Garrison Keillor) (converted from cassettes)
    5. & 6 Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me - the best of not my job

    I have some other "go-to" music CDs that seem to be better than others at keeping me alert and I live with a 20 oz. cup of coffee in the cupholder. I avoid anything in the way of a large meal and I avoid sugar and sugared drinks like the plague. I don't want to get drowsy on a rebound. I also stop at most rest stops just to force myself to get out of the car for a few minutes to walk and look around. I'm also really comfortable folding down the back seats and taking a nap.
     
  11. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I use to be able to do the Banzai drive through's on longer drives. Maybe it was never the best idea, but when I was younger I felt I could do it.
    Now?
    I've got to stop, stretch, walk around and take breaks...I just can't do the straight through drives anymore.

    I now add about 20 minutes per 100 miles just to factor in rest breaks.

    Also, I take it easier on myself. Much more apt to pull over and have a nice breakfast, lunch or dinner.
    No more marathon, stamina testing drives.

    I can't make as good a time from point A to B. But I feel better when I do arrive, and I think it's a lot safer.
     
  12. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    Those long drives seemed so easy in our 20s and 30s. My last "Banzai" drive was in my 40s from Indianapolis to here in SoCal. After seeing the carnage of trucks spreading wild animals all over 1-70 in the dark while passing through the Rockies I changed my mind about those long drives. I seriously got scared of meeting a bighorn or some other animal head on at 70 mph in the darkness of night. My car is not going to fare well in that scenario and I most likely will not either. On long drives now I also limit myself to primarily daytime driving when I'm on the open highway, especially in other states. I enjoy the scenery and the drives a lot more.
     
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  13. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Daydreaming could cost someone else their life too. I walk and cycle more often than I drive, and the number of drivers simply not paying attention is shocking. Most of them are just being aggressive, failing to yield right of way in an occupied crosswalk for example, but there are far too many whose minds are clearly elsewhere. If I'm riding, a blast on the air horn usually brings them back to the here and now - maybe I need one in my backpack too. A thump on the sheet metal tends to turn drivers into raging homicidal maniacs, but at least they wake up.
     
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  14. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    <in_jest>Have just enough gas to reach your destination and then manage your driving to reach the gas station at the end of the drive. It will focus your attention on an interesting and challenging task. Best to carry a spare can of gas for a bad guess or poor technique.</in_jest>

    My last marathon was 1200 miles from Rhode Island to Huntsville AL. Take a break as needed; keep hydrated (which leads to breaks); cat naps and walkies; high protein snacks (sandwich w/o bread,) and; iPhone loaded with complete CD library. First segment ~3 hours and subsequent ~2 hours. After 20 hours, look for a cheap motel bed, sleep, shower, breakfast, and on the road again. Dynamic cruise control, the only way to go.

    Bob Wilson
     
    #14 bwilson4web, Apr 13, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
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  15. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The other One Percenter.....

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    The insurance article is click bait.
    I personally think that the Pancake Haus is the best place to discuss these weighty matters, but that's me being me again.

    My last commute to work (35 minutes ago) was done with the radio off, since I was involved in mentally planning out my day and doing some high level planning on a home automation project, and I never got the memo from my brain saying that it needed the radio turned on because it was running out of stuff to do.
    Daydreaming?

    Perhaps.

    Of course my commute to work is only about 3 miles, so perhaps this isn't the best example. :D
     
  16. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    IMO....if it ain't got bread, it ain't a sandwich.
     
  17. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    Seems like a good topic of discussion whilst navigating a plate of flap jacks.

    I have a 140 mile round trip 5 days a week. Coming up on 7 years of doing this drive next month. Two thirds of these trips are in the dark since I'm a rotating shifter. Only about 30 miles is spent on interstate 10, but that is enough to keep me wide awake the rest of the trip. Some of the things that I've seen, and some near misses. Most important for me is adequate sleep. I jealously protect my sleep schedule. I am also a big fan of NPR. And for variety I carry a collection of 24 podcasts that I follow.
     
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  18. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The other One Percenter.....

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    +1

    See also: "roll-up."
     
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  19. Stevewoods

    Stevewoods Senior Member

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    Seems to me I have the radio on almost 24/7 when I drive, Most often NPR. Also seems to me that in the past year or so I could not tell you what I listened to while driving.

    Think that may be a factor of "lessening" quality of programs on NPR than anything else;;;;need to find better radio.
     
  20. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The other One Percenter.....

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    Funny that...
    NPR used to dominate my podcast rotation, and then Click and Clack went into retirement, Lake Woebegone had...ah...'staffing' problems, and shows like WWDTM, and TAL have become very tedious to listen to.

    I still download some of them, but only regularly listen to the 15 minute morning news round-up.

    ATC and Morning Edition seem to be behind a paywall or not available to my podcast aggregator.....and I don't use the apples.

    However (COMMA!) there vast universe of podcasts out there...so daydreaming while driving isn't much of a problem which is a good thing for me since I spend so much of my time on the road while at work!
     
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