Are you driving on autopilot?

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2020 | Car Accidents |

Car accidents happen all the time in Georgia. You can get into a crash no matter where you drive. The nature of an accident is that it is unpredictable, but there are a lot of studies looking into auto accidents, aiming to find patterns and identify risk factors. One issue that research has long shown is that accidents often happen close to home. 

The Association for Psychological Science explains that it is easy to dismiss these findings on the assumption that people are more likely to get into an accident close to home because that is where they drive most often. However, further research has shown concerns that have nothing to do with the frequency of driving. 

Driving on autopilot 

You know the roads close to your house because you drive them so much. You know where the pothole is at the end of the street. You know that the neighbor always parks his car on the right side of the street. As you drive, you naturally maneuver to accommodate these obstacles. This is true even if an obstacle is not there. 

This is because you drive on “autopilot” in familiar areas. You do not focus completely on the road like you would in an area you do not drive often. 

The trouble with familiarity 

The issue with driving on autopilot is that you are not really paying attention. Because you have familiarity with the road conditions, you expect them to always be the same. If something unexpected is present, you may not notice it before it is too late, leading to a crash. According to researchers, this lack of attention is a major reason that so many car accidents occur close to home. 

Driving on autopilot is difficult to notice. It happens naturally. The best thing you can do to avoid it is to make sure you stay focused and do not become lax when behind the wheel, especially when driving in your neighborhood. 


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