A press association article published on the 27 Jan 2016 here talks about drivers reporting “memory loss” after journeys. It does not state whether the journeys in question are urban, rural motorway or both, and this is important factor for the results. I’ll start with a bit of clarification then go on to comment on the article. If you are suffering memory blanks from urban journeys you’ve driven ask yourself, do you have memory blanks of times when you have not been driving, watching TV for example. If so it could be time to see the doctor about your memory.
So to the article; the article states that 15% of us are often or very often unable to report the last few moments of their journey. As I’m sure I’ve explained in a previous post we enter natural hypnotic states throughout the day, sometimes while driving. So forgive me if you’ve read this before but for anyone who hasn’t I’ll explain; We will naturally enter a hypnotic state to rest our conscious mind up to twenty times a day. During these periods which are sometimes referred to as day dreaming the subconscious takes over. The subconscious will keep us safe by alerting the consciousness should danger or a need to make a decision. So if you enter one of these hypnotic states while driving and the car in front breaks or you are approaching your junction you’ll come right out of the trance state. So while the article would appear to show this it does make statements and in one case state an opinion I feel need commenting on.
As already stated that only 15% of drivers report this. Is this because of all the people surveyed 15% regularly travel on long journeys. This phenomenon is unlikely to happen driving around town, too much concentration is required for town driving for our conscious to be allowed to switch off.
Just 9% of drivers over 65 reported suffering from the problem. Is this because the over 65s are less likely to drive long distances? I don’t know and it is not stated in the article if this is or not the case but could have a bearing on aspects referred to later in the article.
The president of the AA Edmund King is quoted in the article as saying the memory blanks may be down to drivers not concentrating on the road ahead, caused by day dreams, conversations with passengers, phone calls or listening to the radio. Well what can I say? The day dream is a natural hypnotic trance so I believe he’s correct on that one. I believe he’s wrong about the rest. The conversation, listening to the radio and phone call (illegal in Great Britain remember) would require the consciousness to be active and so would be recallable.
I do agree with him where he says in the article that it is good practice for drivers to question if they could stop in time in the event of a child walked out from behind a parked car. However, this scenario is not likely to occur outside of a built up area. Memory blanks are not likely to occur on journeys that are travelled completely within a built up area. This is because the concentration required and the dangers of driving in a built up area will mean the conscious is prevented from switching off.
Finally, it is stated that the biggest contributory factor in accidents is people failing to look. I find this statement to be quite random in this article, I mean “failing to look” could be actually looking but in the wrong direction to spot the danger and has nothing to do with memory blanks so why include it.