Monday, March 5, 2012

You Are Going Blind!!!!

An Australian study from 2005 showed researchers that drivers using hands-free devices while driving are still four times more likely to be in an accident, the same chance as someone holding their cellular phone while talking and driving. "Motorists are more accident-prone and slower to react when they talk on cellular telephones - even hands-free models - because 'inattention blindness' makes the drivers less able to process visual information," University of Utah researchers found in 2003.

I figured out this weekend the reason why everyone is subject to inattention blindness. It doesn't have to be the electronics in your car. For me, it was the chatty teen sitting right next to me. It dawned on me as we were happily going to see our friends on Saturday that I hadn't really seen where we were going even though my "eyes" were on the road. My mind was preoccupied with girl child telling a story, and we straight up passed a store at which we wanted to purchase a Giant Metal Chicken for our Sosie's birthday. I was astonished that we had to back track more than two miles to make our purchase. That is more than two miles of heavy traffic that could have taken us out. I am just amazed that we weren't.

Inattention Blindness happens to EVERYONE so don't get all judgy on me (I feel bad enough as it is). Always the brainiac, I researched this to learn more about it. My favorite research comes out of Harvard, The Invisible Gorilla Test. The study asked people to watch a video where two teams wearing black and white t-shirts pass a basketball around. They were told to count the number of passes made by one of the teams. In the video someone walks through the players wearing a full gorilla suit. After watching the video, the subjects were asked if they saw anything out of the ordinary... 50% of the subjects did not report seeing the gorilla. This research showed that what is in our sight area is not seen if our mind is focused on another task.

That scares the crap out of me! I think about how many times I became bored on the long trip from DFW to East Texas to see my family and zoned out. Unless there is a needed potty break in Sulfur Springs or Mount Pleasant, you could drive on Interstate 30 and never see the crepe myrtle grower outside of Greenville or the Rainbow Ranch. There's an exit 1993 that I have always looked for because that was the year I graduated from high school. Those are just a few of the scenes on the side of the road...what about those tractor trailers that are on the road with me? What about that road rager? The gal putting on her make-up or yelling at her kids? The idiot with the dog in his lap? Distractions, distractions, distractions...they are EVERYWHERE!

No comments:

Post a Comment