What does the thalamus do while driving?

I sometimes get home from a trip to the store or the mall and feel like the entire drive was done on autopilot. Other times, I feel like if I’m not devoting 100% of my attention to the road, I’ll end up in an accident. What exactly is my brain doing while I’m driving?

Find out if you’re getting ripped off on your car insurance in less than two minutes.
No spam · No long forms · No fees
Find savings (100% Free)
rating white
3.5k Ratings
Answer provided by
Ethan Daniel Moser
Answered on Apr 15, 2022
We can definitely relate to sometimes feeling like we are operating on autopilot behind the wheel, though it’s important to stay alert at all times as road conditions are constantly changing. Your brain is constantly firing off neurological signals to keep you safe behind the wheel, and the thalamus, in particular, helps you react to sight, taste, touch, and sound while behind the wheel by directing messages to the sensory cortex and transmitting replies to the cerebellum and medulla.
Here are some ways your thalamus helps keep you safe while driving:
  • If a child or animal suddenly runs out into the street in front of you, your thalamus triggers a neurological message to make you slam on the brakes
  • While reversing, the thalamus allows the brain and body to make the necessary adjustments to our posture and vehicle to avoid a collision, particularly while backing out
  • The thalamus offers drivers immediate reactions to unexpected obstacles on the road like ice, standing water, oncoming emergency vehicles, and debris
While the thalamus is a great tool for keeping all of us safe while driving, it’s certainly not foolproof, so having reliable car insurance is just as necessary.
Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to find the best deals on car insurance when you shop with Jerry. As the only car insurance comparison shopping super app, Jerry matches users with competitive quotes from 50+ of the top car insurance providers nationwide in less than 45 seconds—all while saving you an average of $887 a year on car insurance alone!

Here to save on car and home insurance? Great, you do that. We’ll do everything else.

Sign up in under a minute.
No need to fill out forms or shop around. Sign up in 45 seconds to start saving. Jerry does the rest.
Jerry collects and analyzes your current coverage.
Say hello to Jerry, your new insurance agent. We’ll contact your insurance company, review your current plan, then find the coverage that fits your needs and saves you money.
Get the best options before your renewal.
Jerry does all the picky, busy work by comparing prices and coverage from more than 50+ insurance companies. We compare what we find to your current policy and offer you the three best options before every renewal.

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free