|Bookmarks Jan/Feb - Page 3|
Naturally, you want to bring your own tech stuff with you on the trip. Scrolling for songs on an iPod means you take your eye off the road 10 percent longer than you would with a CD player or a radio. The longer it takes to fiddle, the more you put yourself at risk. Researchers say if it takes longer than 15 intermittent seconds to adjust a device, that's potential trouble. So, fellow drivers, be satisfied with that song you only half-like: fishing for a better one might be the last thing you ever do.
And cell phones are worse than you thought: it's not the mere talking or listening; it's that the longer the conversations, the more intense they are. As you talk, your eyes lock onto the space directly in front you, diminishing your peripheral attention. Good drivers scan a wide area, casting their eyes down the road (the expression I learned in advanced driver training was "aim high while driving"). People using cell phones are like teenagers: they don't scan for trouble, but are caught up in their music or talk, staring straight ahead like zombies watching TV. It's as if they had mental lockjaw. That's one way to recover your adolescence and maybe never get old at all: start using a cell phone while you're operating a motor vehicle.
Sure, you try to be cautious and compensate while on your cell phone; you drop back and drive more slowly. That's when you get rear-ended. The problem is that while driving, you must anticipate the unexpected, like that bicycle that appeared out of nowhere while you tried to turn right. Add to this the fact that intersections are "accident magnets": you vaguely pay attention to the light signal when it turns green, but you miss the car racing through the red light and aiming straight for your front door.