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Driver attention survey

Have you ever arrived at work or home and realised that you’ve driven on ‘auto pilot’ with little recollection of the trip?

Driver inattention from our mind wandering while we commute to and from work or whilst at work is an under-recognised phenomenon, according to University of Southern Queensland psychologist Bronwyn Fogarty.

By undertaking Bronwyn’s brief on-line survey you will be helping out with world-first research in this area.

‘Personally I think that there could be a connection with mind wandering and the type of driving that occurs during familiar routes and on rural roads, and also on the familiar commute to and from work where busy people are purposefully taking advantage of time in the car to reflect and plan – and think about everything else other than driving,’ Bronwyn said.

Bronwyn said participants who have undertaken the survey said it has made them consider what they are thinking about whilst driving, and the possibility that returning their mind back to the task of driving is important.

‘Many people don’t consider that their mind can be a major distraction source – they also assume that if they are on ‘automatic pilot’  that they can depend on their reflexes to get them out of trouble should a hazard arise. What is interesting is that research in the neurological proesses underlying mind wandering shows that there is an insulating of the internally focused train of thought away from external stimuli (thus affecting vision, hearing etc) and motor behaviour is also affected.’

Your responses will help Bronwyn and others understand more about driver inattention, especially our minds as a source of driver distraction. The study will consider whether individual differences in the tendency to be inattentive in everyday situations are related to the tendency to mind wander in a driving context. They will also help researchers learn more about relationships between mind wandering, everyday attention, attentional control and driving style.

‘Additionally, your responses will inform training and interventions to prevent injuries and death caused by mind wandering whilst driving. Undertaking these questionnaires may raise your awareness of your tendencies to mind wander during everyday situations, such as whilst driving.’

To participate in the survey click on this link https://psych.sci.usq.edu.au/ols/psych/surveys/PFMD2013/External.php The survey takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and the target population are individuals who are 18 years or over who possess a driver’s licence.

You can contact Bronwyn Fogarty at the University of Southern Queensland on 0417 272746  or 07 4631 2587 .

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