Daydreaming while driving is more dangerous than you would think – and our new review of police data only shows when drivers can be "lost in thought" enough to cause a fatal crash.
According to a new review of Fatality Data for Analytical Reporting Systems (FARS), Saturdays in September are the biggest days of fatal car accidents involving daydreaming while driving, and Tuesdays in February are the lowest.
The new review is based on Erie Insurance's earlier analysis, which found that it was "generally distracted" or "lost in the tank" – otherwise known as daydreaming ̵
Related: See 2018 data on the 10 disorders involved in fatal accidents  The FARS data contains information from police reports on the causes of fatal car accidents. Erie Insurance was consulted with Motorway Safety Insurance to analyze data maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
"We released these data to raise awareness of the ongoing need to combat distracted driving in all its forms, whether it be texting while driving or simply letting your mind walk behind the wheel," says Jon Bloom, vice president of passenger car Erie Insurance. "No matter what day of the week or month it is, we urge all drivers to keep their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel and their attention to what they do."
The most recent NHTSA distracted driving crash data shows that 3,166 people were killed in distracted driver crashes in 2017.
The likelihood of fatal "daydreaming while driving" crashes:
The latest FARS data review from Erie Insurance resulted in a ranked list of more than 84 combinations (with some bands) of days and months associated with daydreaming while driving. Below are the top and bottom five from 2013 to 2017.
Top 5 (Most Dangerous):
- Saturdays in September
- Saturdays in May
- Fridays in October
- Saturdays in August  On Friday in July
Bottom 5 (Minimum Dangerous):
- Sundays in December
- Thursdays in February
- Mondays in January
- Wednesdays in February
- Tuesdays in February
FARS data is largely based on the police's judgment on a crash and interviews with the persons concerned.
To help drivers better understand and avoid daydreaming while driving, Erie Insurance has previously collaborated with internationally renowned cognitive behavioral researcher Paul Atchley, Ph. D., Who has studied distracted driving and worked with national security organizations to reduce it.
VIDEO: How to stop driving, explained by a cognitive behavioral researcher
"It is not clear why people would be more likely to daydream while driving on certain days or in some months over others," Bloom says. "Regardless, we think the information is worth sharing if there are people talking about the serious problem of distracted driving and how to avoid it."
April is a distracted driving awareness month, but keeping awake on the road is a reason to get behind the year. Read more about car insurance from ERIE to be protected no matter what you encounter on the way forward.