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Alcohol makes your mind wander

With all of the statistics that have come out about distracted driving, it's clear that having your mind wander while you drive can be very dangerous. Researchers believe that's just one part of what makes drunk driving so risky. They did a study and found that those who had been drinking noticed their minds wandering twice as much as those who hadn't.

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Now, for obvious safety reasons, this wasn't done in the car. Instead, researchers gave two groups a book to read and a drink. In one group, the drink was actually alcohol. In the other, it had been created to taste as close as possible to alcohol, but it was not. This way, participants would not know which group they were in.

As each group read, people were told to signal when their minds wandered -- when they started thinking about anything other than the book. If that happened, they simply pushed a button to record it. When the number of pushes were analyzed at the end, those who actually had been drinking were far more distracted.

It's also important to note that participants were not even over the legal limit, just checking in at about 0.05 in terms of BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration). Even a small amount of alcohol made it twice as hard to concentrate, and reading is a far simpler task than driving an automobile.

Did a drunk driver make an easily avoidable mistake and cause an accident that left you with significant injuries? This is all too common, and people who are hurt may be able to seek compensation for related costs, from medical bills to lost wages.

Source: Psychology Today, "Drunk and Drifting: How Alcohol Affects Mind Wandering," Art Markman, accessed April 21, 2017

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