Ever been driving through an urban area and had someone texting on their phone walk right out in front of you, seemingly out of nowhere?
Motion Induced Blindness is a concept pilots and racing drivers are taught to compensate for. By focusing on a point ahead of you (taillights on a race car, or a cell phone lifted in front of your face) while things are moving alongside you, your peripheral vision goes dark and you only focus on the item directly ahead. For a race car driver that means someone overtaking you without you seeing them. For someone holding a cell phone, that could mean rear-ending the car in front of you or missing a sign or traffic light.
A test online has been created to demonstrate how Motion Blindness affects you. Click here to take the test. Focus on the flashing green dot in the middle of the screen and use your peripheral vision to try to see the yellow dots. They are always on, but they should disappear or flash to your eyes.
Some people will hold their cell phone on the wheel of the car and use their peripheral vision to drive while they are texting, thinking that they are safe. This test is a simple but effective demonstration to show that it isn’t safe.
Governments around the world are banning the use of cell phones while driving. This can include talking on the phone or texting while driving. The media cites reports of how distracted driving is one of the leading cause of accidents.
The opposition to cellphone-specific laws say that putting on makeup, reading, talking to passengers, fiddling with the radio and other activities in the car are all just as dangerous, and that cell phone legislation is over-reaching. Some mobile and automotive enthusiasts believe that they know what they are doing and that they are immune to the distraction of using a phone or texting while driving.
There are plenty of technologies to help you use your phone while in the vehicle without causing an accident. If you do not have one of those, please pull over if you need to use your phone.