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What’s More Distracting Than Texting While Driving? Our Thoughts…

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

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(CBS Charlotte) — We all know that either talking on the phone or texting while driving can cause fatal traffic accidents — but what about when we become distracted by our own thoughts? Is it possible that being deep in thought can contribute to deadly car accidents as well?

Indeed. It’s not only possible, it’s probable that daydreaming while behind the wheel will lead to a fatal car accident. Just how likely is it? According to a recent study released by Erie Insurance Group, 62 percent of fatal traffic accidents between 2010 and 2011 were caused by daydreaming. Yes, 62 percent!

In comparison, only 12 percent of fatal accidents were caused by the use of a mobile device.

While there is definitely some wiggle room in this study, as the “cause of accident” in these reports is subject to the interpretation of the responding police officer. Undoubtedly, the cause of fatal accidents due to daydreaming may either be under-reported or over-reported, but nonetheless, this study is definitely alarming. Texting while driving is a conscious activity. Many people realize the dangers associated with using their mobile phones while “on the road,” and no longer text and drive.

However, thinking isn’t always a conscious act — we don’t always realize where our thoughts take us, or how distracted we become. While we can turn off our phones while we are driving, we cannot turn off our brains. Perhaps, becoming more aware of when we start to daydream while driving will reduce the amount of fatal accidents caused by our thoughts.

-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte

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