ADAS.ie are distributors in Ireland for the market-leading range of Mobileye Collision Avoidance Systems. The systems alert the driver with both audio and visual signals when it detects a hazard on the road ahead. This focuses the driver’s attention on the road, giving them time to avoid or mitigate a collision.
But do we need it? Many of us may feel we have good situational awareness at the wheel and are able to observe and react quickly. In fact, we all suffer from ‘Inattentional Blindness’ – we think we see everything, but we don’t.
Transport for London (TfL) has developed an interesting test to make drivers more conscious of the cyclists they share the roads with. Before reading on, take a look:
Did you notice the moonwalking bear? People tend not to see it because their minds are concentrated elsewhere. This is what we mean by inattentional blindness. Now you get the relevance of the tag line “It’s easy to miss something you’re not looking for”. We tend to view driver distraction in terms of things like mobile phone use, but this shows we can lose our situational awareness through less obvious forms of distraction. The danger this phenomenon poses on our roads is evident.
“… a teenager, cruising down a familiar highway, keeping a conscientious eye on the speedometer, the rear-view mirror, the oncoming traffic. Too late, he notices a deer standing in the road. He slams on the brakes but can’t avoid striking the animal.
Later, the teen insists to his skeptical parents that his eyes were on the road – he was paying attention to his driving. He just never saw the deer.”
(The American Psychological Association)
It’s not too difficult to translate this scenario into our own lives at the wheel. Substitute “pedestrian” or even “vehicle that appeared out of nowhere” for the deer in this story and you understand the potential impact of this form of distracted driving.
Unsurprisingly, inattentional blindness worsens as people are given a task or tasks to do. In the video, being asked to count how many passes the white team made was a critical factor in viewers ignoring the moonwalking bear. A 2011 study asked people to follow a jogger and count the number of times he touched his cap with his hand. Only 4 in 10 noticed a fight taking place along the jogger’s route. This rose to 7 in 10 when people were asked just to follow the jogger.
It follows that any task a driver is asked to do outside of driving – even one that doesn’t require taking your eyes off the road – can contribute to inattentional blindness. Yes, hands-free mobile phone use comes into this category. A 2015 study showed that drivers’ minds are occupied for up to 27 seconds after using even hands-free devices.
The Mobileye 8 Connect collision avoidance system offers another way to reduce the dangers of inattentional blindness, by alerting the driver to hazards ahead. Contact ADAS.ie to find out how Collision Avoidance Systems can help your fleet cut both the number of collisions and collision costs.
Adapted from an article on mobileye.com.