Day Dreaming Is a Driver Distraction

 Day Dreaming Behind The Wheel Is A Driver Distraction

Distracted driving is often associated with drivers who talk or text on their mobile device instead of focusing on the road and traffic. Although these actions involving a cellphone are considered to be dangerous, so much so that legislation continues to ban these actions, there are other distractions that drivers face that can be just as dangerous when it comes to driving.

Two psychological scientists from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia set their sites on determining if distracted driving could be caused by internal factors. The scientists, Matthew R. Yanko and Thomas M. Spalek wanted to gauge whether simple “mind-wandering” would distract drivers in the same way as technology does. Two experiments were carried out to determine if thinking about everything other than the driving task at hand would affected important aspects of driving such as reaction time and space between cars.

Day Dreaming Is Shown To Be A Driver Distraction

The first experiment put 17 drivers to the test. These 17 drivers followed a car that set the pace and braked randomly during a 30 minute session. Audio was also used to ask drivers to press one of two buttons randomly when the commands were issued. The results indicated that the study drivers were distracted or concentrating on other things approximately 39% of the 30 minute session. The results also indicated that the time to brake when the test vehicle slowed down when the drivers indicated that their minds were wandering.

The second experiment focused on 32 drivers and how their driving specifically affected headway distance. Again, the lead vehicle was programmed to maintain a specific speed while the test drivers were able to vary their speed. The scientists complicated the experiment by adding another element, a woman walking toward the road. The objective of this experiment was to determine if the distracted drivers would react more slowly to an event that they could see occurring from the left or right.

The conclusions of the second experiment showed that the drivers’ minds wandered approximately 42% of the session’s duration. During those times, the drivers followed the lead car more closely and the reaction times for breaking for the lead car and the pedestrian increased when the drivers were thinking of something else and were distracted.

Experiments such as the one carried out by the Simon Fraser University only confirm what Young Drivers of Canada has taught its students, controlling your brain’s activity during driving is an integral part of managing distractions while driving. The Cognifit brain training program offered exclusively by Young Drivers of Canada teaches drivers how to control their brain activity when driving to avoid the consequences of distracted driving. The program assesses a driver’s reaction time and their tendency to take risks while behind the wheel. The online tool includes an assessment component, a training section and a progress assessment. The goal of this program is to determine where drivers are and how through the course they can improve their cognitive abilities. Enroll in the Cognifit program today!

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