Friday, January 19, 2018 | ePaper

Day-dreaming while driving is common in drivers

  • Print


Life Desk :
Are you always attentive when driving? If not, you are not alone. A new study has found that mind wandering, which is potentially dangerous, is quite common among drivers.
Driver inattention is a major factor in road traffic crashes and fatalities. The most obvious sources of driver distraction are external, such as phones or other mobile devices, and scientists have extensively studied the role of these distractions in road accidents.
However, many traffic accidents occur without any obvious external distractions. Mind wandering is an understudied form of distraction, where drivers start daydreaming and shift their attention from driving to internal thoughts.
In this study, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, scientists investigated during a driving simulation how frequent mind wandering is, and whether they could find tell-tale changes in brain patterns for a wandering mind.
The researchers asked a group of volunteers to use a driving simulator, while hooked up to an electro-physiological monitoring system, to measure electrical activity in their brains. For five days in a row, the volunteers completed two 20-minute driving simulations along a monotonous stretch of straight highway at a constant speed, to mimic a commute to and from work.
Between the two commutes, they completed a written test to simulate the mentally draining effect of a day's work. "We found that during simulated driving, people's minds wander a lot - some upwards of 70 per cent of the time," said one of the researchers, Carryl Baldwin of George Mason University in Virginia, US.
Participants' minds were more likely to wander on the second drive of the simulation (the drive home after work), and on average, they were aware of their mind wandering only 65 per cent of the time.
"We were able to detect periods of mind wandering through distinctive electro-physiological brain patterns," Baldwin said. "Mind wandering may be an essential part of human existence and unavoidable. It may be a way to restore the mind after a long day at the office," Baldwin said.
To stay safe, drivers need to remain aware of other road users and respond rapidly to unexpected events, and mind wandering might reduce their ability to do so. "In terms of improving safety in the future, one option could be autonomous transport systems, like self-driving cars, that allow people's minds to wander when it is safe to do so, but re-engage when they need to pay attention," Baldwin said.
- IANS | New York

More News For this Category

Intermittent fasting : A key to good health

Intermittent fasting : A key to good health

Life Desk :Fasting has been known to mankind since ancient times. Almost all the religions across the globe endorse fasting as a means to achieve spiritual goals and wellbeing

Caffeine level in blood may predict Parkinson's disease

Life Desk  :The findings showed that people with Parkinson's disease had significantly lower levels of caffeine in their blood than people without the disease, even if they consumed the

Women who do night shifts may be at risk of cancer

Women who do night shifts may be at risk of cancer

Life Desk :Long-term night shift work in women was associated with risk for nearly a dozen types of cancer. Breast, skin, and gastrointestinal cancer was associated with night shift

How you look in a dress you are yet to buy

How you look in a dress you are yet to buy

Life Desk  :Amazon has patented a reality mirror that lets you try on clothes virtually while placing you in a virtual location.The patent describes the mirror as partially-reflective and

Working on mobile devices from home may affect family life

Working on mobile devices from home may affect family life

Life Desk  :Too much office workload? Do not bring it home as it might spoil intimacy with your partner and affect your professional life too, a new study has

Paracetamol in pregnancy may damage your daughter's fertility

Paracetamol in pregnancy may damage your daughter's fertility

Life Desk  :Women who consume paracetamol during pregnancy, widely used to reduce a high fever or relieve pain, may increase the risk of damaging the fertility of their daughters,

Gender-based colours in toys can spur harmful stereotypes

Gender-based colours in toys can spur harmful stereotypes

Life Desk :Do you tend to buy only pink toys for your daughter, while keeping the blue toys for your son? Buying gender-based colours for your children can actually

Be a bad mom in 2018!

Be a bad mom in 2018!

Life Desk  :You are a mom and can't fix a healthy wheat cupcake for your kid and her friends in a jiffy? Don't have the perfect yoga body and

Healthy lifestyle in winter

Healthy lifestyle in winter

Life Desk  :The onset of winters can prove to be a health hazard if you are not following a nutritious diet, and a balanced lifestyle. So make sure you

Sleeping less than 8 hours a night can lead to depression

Life Desk  :Regular sleep disruptions can increase the difficulty in shifting attention away from negative thoughts. While other people may be able to move on from their negative thoughts,