Human Factors - Staying Focused While Driving
Updated: 1 day ago
Ask anyone you know if they've ever driven distracted and they'll likely tell you that they never have. But the number of collisions and accidents on our roads and highways continues rising and many times drivers don’t even remember how the crash that they were involved in happened.
Despite all of the latest and greatest vehicle technology that is intended to keep drivers safe, the number of fatal accidents and crashes continues to increase. I would argue that some of that can be attributed to drivers now having less to think about while driving since a lot of newer cars will check your blind spot and alert you if you begin to drift from your lane. In my opinion safety technology in newer cars is actually more dangerous in some ways because it causes a driver to think less about certain critical aspects of driving, which makes them more likely to look for something else in the vehicle to keep them entertained. Fully automated vehicles are ideal for safety but half-automated ones currently on the roads are deceivingly dangerous and the numbers reflect that.
Many newer model vehicles are equipped with touchscreens in the dash which are the size of an iPad. This forces the driver to take their eyes off of the road and place their finger in a specific spot on the screen in order to make changes to the vehicle's controls . How is this even a thing? Vehicles equipped with tactile feedback controls are much safer and they're the reason that fighter jets are still equipped with them, allowing the pilot to focus on what's around them and still be able to make changes to their controls. I explain this in the video clip below.
When it comes to distracted driving you should think of a football as your cell phone. Let's say you're focused on the ball which is your cell phone, while the linebacker who is running at you represents another car or hazard around you. You'll end up tuning into and devoting all of your attention to the ball or phone and will then become unaware of the dangers around you. The linebacker would have an easy target and could smoke you. Keep your head on a swivel and pay attention like a football player does when other players are trying to hit them. I use this analogy because it happened to me on the first day of high school football tryouts back in the day. I had only played touch football up until that point and so when I went up to catch the ball I got laid out by a linebacker. I wasn't injured but quickly learned that the dangers around me were real. The video below illustrates this and keep in mind that these are humans hitting other humans. A vehicle hitting a pedestrian would be a whole other level of trauma.
This Is What Can Happen When You're Distracted
Stress And Distraction
Stress - Another huge aspect of distracted driving is stress. When a driver is stressed while sitting at a red light they'll be more likely to make a bad decision and start checking their phone, or adjusting a playlist. But if they weren't stressed it would be much less likely that they would do that. Good decisions are more likely to be made when people are not distracted or stressed out.
Road Rage - can lead to a suspended driver's license, job loss and legal problems. Many drivers don't recognize when stress is affecting their behaviour.
Tailgating - Never brake-check a tailgater because it will only make them more aggressive. It’s better to let off of the accelerator pedal, then they'll notice your vehicle slowing down and wonder what in the heck you are doing. Then they'll likely just pass you and be gone. That being said also note that many drivers don't realize when they're following to closely behind the vehicle in front of them.
Communicating In Traffic
A key aspect of defensive driving is communication with other motorists. We drive around hundreds of vehicles everyday so it's critical for us to communicate with them. The unfortunate thing is our vehicles only have two built in ways to communicate, signal lights and a horns. The problem with the horn is it only has one setting which is usually interpreted by other drivers as negative. But sometimes a driver just wants to give someone a friendly toot of the horn to say thanks. Always think twice before honking your horn, because you never know who is in the vehicle you that you're honking at.
Nicest Car Horn Ever
The Slow Motion Effect
Why Time Slows Down During an Accident – When it's important for our survival, it helps if the outside world slows down so that we have more time to react to hazards. Because everything seems to slow down around us, we see and hear more details of what 's happening in that moment which leads to the feeling that time has slowed.
Andrew Santino discusses how time slowed down when he got into an accident
Peripheral Vision – It detects movement, masses, and shapes out of the corner of your eye. When you look further ahead in your lane, this is what helps keep your vehicle centred in the lane.
Field of Vision – Your field of vision is the 180 degree view ahead, and to the sides of you.
Depth Perception – Depth perception helps you judge distance
Joe Rogan talks about getting rear ended in his Porsche by a distracted driver
Why Distracted Driving Campaigns Don’t Work
“Over the past decade there have been many distracted driving campaigns that boil things down to absolutes. “War on distracting driving!” or “Put down that phone.” Distracted Driving is a serious problem that is killing thousands of people every year.”
Halifax ranks last in safe driving study
"In its ninth annual Safe Driving Study, Allstate Canada found Halifax had the highest collision frequency. Halifax has claimed the title of Canadian collision capital for the third year in a row."
Truck vs Pole accident on Larry Uteck Blvd
The video below is the best one I've seen about distracted driving. Instead of using lame one liners or traumatizing photos, this PHD scientist who spends his life studying distracted driving uses science and data to investigate the root causes of distraction. This is the kind of progressive approach that is needed in order to educate and not scare new drivers into doing or not doing something.
Distraction is literally killing us | Paul Atchley
Cognitive Distraction - Full Video
Driving while tired is the most dangerous form of impaired driving as the injuries are always more severe. In the Alberta oilfield, the number one cause of injury and death is not working on the rigs, it's driving while tired.
Why Sleep Matters | Matthew Walker | Talks at Google
ADD Driving Tips & Precautions 🚘 ⚠️
Below is an example of people who wouldn’t normally drive drunk, but then they're put in a situation where they have to make a decision. These types of stories are heartbreaking, but the victims and their loved ones are better served if we all take a moment to learn something from them.
Consequences Of Bad Decisions; The Beaverbank crash
In 2015 there were 4 teens in Beaverbank who were at a house party one night and then needed a ride home. Halifax being Halifax they couldn’t get a cab. These teenagers weren’t expecting this situation to present itself and then had to figure out what to do at 2 a.m. while drunk in the middle of no where. This is how most driving stories tragic stories start out. Something unexpected presents itself and that’s the key moment when a person needs to make a good decision. ‘Final Destination’ as I call it, will always be one bad decision away.
In this case one of the teens volunteered to drive while drunk so everyone hopped into the car. The car was driven at a high rate of speed and then it flipped multiple times ejecting everyone but the driver. Two people died and a third person was severely injured. Planning ahead for partying or other fun activities is essential.
How the story progressed
Cox, 22 admitted to having consumed four beer and four shots of vodka the night of the crash. He volunteered to drive his friends home from a party after they were told it would be a two-hour wait for a cab.
Danielle Hudson and Miranda MacIsaac, 19, were ejected from the vehicle. Gregory Goulding, 21 remained inside but sustained serious injuries.
Hudson and Goulding both died because of their injuries. MacIsaac suffered serious injuries.
"One of Hudson's friends, Katie Noble stood sobbing as she read her victim impact statement. She told the court that moments before the crash happened she received a text from her friend with a picture of her smiling from the back seat of the car. Noble said she initially treasured the picture but not any more."
Driving Impaired can ruin your life
Your first DUI can cost $20,000 or more, even without property damage or injuries and could reach $40,000. A DUI conviction can also lead to the loss of a job. The conviction may remain on the offender’s record for 10 years.
Body cam video shows DUI arrest of woman after friend dies jumping from her car
This video shows a young driver that has just killed her friend. The video helps give us a sense of what it's like to be arrested after making a bad decision.
Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms: What to do if you have alcohol overdose
Extremely dangerous “Shady 8” opioid making the rounds
"Between March 28 and April 20, Cumberland County RCMP responded to three overdoses where in each case RCMP had to administer Narcan to counteract the effects of the overdose. Each person was then taken to hospital by ambulance. In all three cases, the drug that was used is known as “Shady 8”. Shady 8 is a form of Fentanyl, a powerful opioid, which comes in the form of a white or green pill or tablet."
Opioid and Narcotics Overdose Signs and Symptoms