Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

Video: Seeing that you’re driving blind

| December 17, 2013

Did you know that a driver is four times more likely to get into an accident when talking on the phone? Or  23 times more likely to have an accident when texting?

Truck drivers might not know those exact statistics, but probably know the basic truth instinctively. It’s not that professional driving teaches you how to combine activities with driving, but that it teaches you how easy it is for things to go wrong on the road.

Anyone, pro or amateur, who doubts that inherent danger would do well to view this short, newly posted video about distracted driving. It simplifies the concept of “inattention blindness,” the “periods when we go blind to our environment.”



I’ve written before on this idea, noting a study that showed “hands-free communications technology is just as distracting as hands-on” because of inattention blindness. Yet another study showed that seven out of 10 people believe using hands-free devices is “somewhat” or “much” safer than using handheld devices while driving.

Interaction with a cell phone while driving can produce "inattention blindness."
Interaction with a cell phone while driving can produce “inattention blindness.”

The video shows that what is superficially doing two things at once – driving and talking on the phone – is really just switching between two activities: “Our brain is not wired to pay attention to more than one complex task at a time.”

It’s too bad that much of the public doesn’t consider  driving to be a complex task. You know better. That’s one reason accidents are disproportionately caused by four-wheelers.

The video was produced by TED and Toyota. TED was founded 30 years ago as a conference bringing together leaders in technology, entertainment and design. It now encompasses any field of innovation and includes lots of conferences, partnerships, podcasts and other forms of outreach.

  • James

    Can’t argue with that at all. Truckers and Bikers share the battle against driver inattention as one of the most lethal problems we face every day we’re on the road. I’ve preached since the first day I rode my motorcycle that ANYTHING that keeps a driver’s attention off his driving puts ME at risk,and THAT’S NOT OKAY WITH ME! The list of distractions is endless,and since we can’t outlaw everything that distracts drivers-we have to find ways to MAKE THEM UNDERSTAND that when they’re behind the wheel,their ONLY task must driving. Everything else can wait until they’re parked. Sadly,many think they’re “better drivers than that”,they just don’t get it,until someone gets killed because they were “only distracted for a second…”,and by then it’s too late.

  • haller

    I agree with you 100% James. I can’t wait until the DOT , State Patrol, and all other law enforcement departments start issuing heavy fines for drivers of automobiles who are multiple-tasking while operating their cars on American intrastate and interstate roads and highways. It’s about time..

  • James

    A friend,while in the Air Force,was stationed in Germany for a while,and he said Germans DETEST American drivers for that very reason. He said,over there,it isn’t the Cops you need to worry about-it’s other drivers. They’re very good to drivers from the US and other Countries who pick up the Autobahn protocols and drive safely,but have been known to work together to “herd” an American “offender” down to a stop and soundly “ruffle his feathers” .(keeping it G rated) for putting everyone around them at risk. They take their driving VERY seriously there-at the speeds THEY drive,they HAVE to!

  • guest

    No doubt about it….truckers observe 4 wheelers everyday who are not fully “engaged” in their driving…and do the Unexpected…..because they are on the phone…whether texting or talking….Some are in DENIAL…but most truckers have missed their offramp while making plans with their sweetie on the phone…or inquiring about that new motorcyle or something of Interest…….Textng of course is worse and the Smart phone will have you on Craigslist or Google search and totally distracted……..how to END your trucking career.

  • g

    They are willing to Gambe…its not Their life that is at stake…it will only affect the guy on the Bike…so Roll the Dice…..chat chat talk talk…..very dangerous to drive a bike these days….almost insane.

  • James

    I believe riding a motorcycle these days is guaranteed to make you either a SURVIVOR or a STATISTIC. I’ve been a Survivor for the last 42 years,and I intend to STAY in that column.