ANN ARBOR, MICH (WXYZ) - Sometimes we're so used to doing certain things, we don't even realize we're doing them.
One of those habits is texting.
A University of Michigan study shows despite the dangers of texting while driving, we do it anyway. But we may not be even be aware of it.
It's automatic behavior.
This kind of behavior is the basis of the study. It's important because it lacks the control that you might think you have in a situation.
Lead researcher Joseph Bayer of U-M Communications Studies says, "In other words, some individuals automatically feel compelled to check for, read and respond to new messages, and may not even realize they have done so while driving until after the fact."
For this study, knowing how people text isn't enough. Efforts were also made to learn how people process the information and understand it.
Associate professor Scott Campbell adds, "A texting cue, for instance, could manifest as a vibration, a 'new message' symbol, a peripheral glance at a phone, an internal 'alarm clock." You may be reacting to these cues automatically.
The research asked several hundred people about how automatic and how often they texted as well as their feelings about it while driving. The results showed significant automatic behavior.
The findings of this study could help in finding a way to deal with the problems of texting and driving. But, the researchers also readily admit that more investigation has to be done with different age groups.
Bayer goes on to say that more attention has to be given these automatic behaviors and exercising self control, "Campaigns to change attitudes about texting while driving can only do so much if individuals don't realize the level at which they are doing it,"