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Experts unsure how to stop accidents caused by daydreaming

A lot of distractions behind the wheel can be addressed by laws and regulations. Officials can make it illegal to text and drive, for example. This doesn't eliminate all accidents, as people will still do it and break the law, but it can cut back on the crashes by reducing the amount of drivers on their phones.

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However, experts warn that one of the leading causes of driver distraction is both simple and impossible to regulate: daydreaming. At times, a driver won't be physically doing anything but driving, but his or her mind will simply wander. That distraction can reduce reaction times and increase driver errors, but there's no way to legislate what people think about while they drive.

Part of the problem is that people tend to daydream when they're doing something repetitive. A man or woman who drives the same route to and from work, every single day, for years on end, could be a high risk. He or she just gets so comfortable and bored with the drive that other thoughts take over.

Specific drivers could pose more of a risk than others, as well. Researchers did not know if some people were more likely to daydream from birth, but they did note that those with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) could be more prone to it. They also noted that some medications could make daydreaming more likely.

On the whole, though, nearly anyone is a risk. Drivers often make the same trips repeatedly and could start thinking about work, school, relationships at home, arguments they've had, vacations they're planning, or a whole host of other topics. When this happens and that driver causes an accident, those who are injured may be able to seek compensation.

Source: Healthday, "Mind Wandering Drives Up Crash Rate," Steven Reinberg, accessed March 14, 2017

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