Ideal from scattered driving

Of course, now attempts are being made to solve this problem. Some cars have a head-up display system that shows all the information needed by the driver on the windshield. Thus, the driver does not need to take his eyes off the road. Other cars are produced with the function of the built-in phone, so that we can receive calls, write messages and sit on the Internet without looking up from the steering wheel. At the heart of these developments lies the erroneous belief that if our eyes are looking at the road, and the hands are on the steering wheel, then we are maximally concentrated on driving, and nothing will happen. But this is not so.

Head-up display allows the driver not to turn away from the road in search of the necessary information. However, it distracts our attention. Studies using similar functions in the aircraft, conducted back in the 1980s, showed that such displays reduce the likelihood that the pilot will notice something unexpected even in his own field of vision. When our attention is distracted, we look, but do not see.

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Approximately the same story and with hand-free devices, which have only voice control.In any case, the use of the phone requires mental effort, not only during a conversation, but also after it. Psychologist Cary Stothart (Cary Stothart) is convinced that the mere fact that we received a message is already very distracting from driving, even if we do not read it.

To solve these problems, we need only one thing: to recognize that human cognitive functions are not unlimited, and intuition can crack. This would just be taken into account in the driving mode function. It would disable the most common sources of annoying driver attention: calls, messages, games and social networks. It would exclude any possibility of communication between the driver and the outside world, except for GPS, navigation and emergency calls.

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For several years, smartphones on the Windows 8 platform have a great version of this mode, but they make up only 3% of the total smartphone market. This mode was not built into either Apple iOS or Google Android.

However, it should be recognized that driving mode can be useful only if people use it. Hence, such a regime should be easily included. Ideally, in one movement, since it is not easy for all of us to cope with the desire to immediately respond to a message.It is driving mode that should automatically send the "I'm driving" notification in response to all calls and messages.

Perhaps the most difficult thing here is to get drivers to turn on this mode. Providers could charge small fees for using such a regime or take penalties for ignoring it. The best option so far is the automatic activation of the mode, when the phone's GPS detects the beginning of the car's movement.

Available on all phones, the airplane mode, for all time of its existence, has not saved a single life. It is almost never used, and there is not a single case when it would cause a plane crash. But auto-mode could save lives every day.

For more details, see The Wall Street Journal.

1 C. Stothart et al. "The attentional cost of receiving a cell phone notification", Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, August 2015.
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