Canada - Distracted driving...

Advanced Driving across North America
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Canada - Distracted driving...

Postby akirk » Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:36 pm ... d-driving/

The fact that distracted driving now accounts for more fatal car accidents than impaired driving hasn’t made a dent in driving habits, says DiCicco, who sees the rise of “assertive” and now “aggressive” driving over the past 15 years as equally narcissistic and dangerous. It’s not unusual for impatient drivers behind a nervous novice trying to turn left to pull ahead and cut the new driver off, he reports.

Such “me-first” behaviour—disregard for traffic signs, failing to signal, lane-hogging, crowding intersections, sailing through red lights—has led to a culture of driving entitlement squarely at odds with the spirit of co-operation needed to navigate the impromptu societies that occur when motor vehicles share space. That has made driving, the most dangerous and behaviourally complex activity most people engage in on a daily basis, a cultural menace that affects not only drivers but pedestrians and neighbourhoods as the spillover effects puts cyclists on sidewalks and pedestrians at peril.

It is interesting in all our discussion on advanced driving we probably make an assumption that we are starting from a point where there is no distraction, we don't turn up for an IAM test with a bowl of cereal in one hand / the radio blaring / mid-text conversation - so perhaps our discussions are skewed yet in reality for many drivers on the road their issues are not about how they steer / when they brake / how they accelerate - but instead about how they are distracted - an interesting discussion - from Canada, but no doubt relevant universally...


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Re: Canada - Distracted driving...

Postby Astraist » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:50 am

A lot of the work that I do is getting people to manage their need to do other tasks while driving. People nowadays take pride in multi-tasking in their lives, so I put it in terms of driving being multi-tasking in of it's own.

Some hazards (drinking, looking for something in the car) are discovered as something that can be done when, say, pulled at the lights, although you still obviously need to be aware to traffic behind and to when the light changes, by splitting one's focus between the two, rather than complete the secondary task entirely and than returning to the driver's seat.

The main issue actually tends to be driving with the cellphone on hands-free speaker. It takes work to appreciate just how distracting it is, and how to mitigate the effect by:

Doing as little of it as possible.
Acknowledging the other side that you are driving.
Cutting the flow of speech in any situation requiring additional concentration.
Doing repititive driving related chores like checking mirrors and the gap in front, so more of our "mental budget" is on the road.
Considering pulling over, especially if the conversation becomes very long.
Assuming a longer reaction time for speed (being able to safely stop well within the road section seen to be clear) and following distance: three seconds probably won't be far off.

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Re: Canada - Distracted driving...

Postby fungus » Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:30 pm

I would suggest that a three second gap would not be enough if a driver is having a convesation on their mobile.

IIRC, research has shown that it can take up to six flashes of a direction indicator for a driver to react. Given that UK law states that an indicator must flash between 60 and 120 times per minute, at the fastest flash rate it would take three seconds for the driver to notice the indicator flashing. Factor in the distraction element of a conversation on a mobile phone, and they would need a gap in excess of three seconds.


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Re: Canada - Distracted driving...

Postby Astraist » Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:20 pm

I was getting at a reaction time of three seconds. A safe stopping distance is usually a bit larger than the anticipated reaction time, just for the off chance that the lead car can outbrake the following car.

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Re: Canada - Distracted driving...

Postby exportmanuk » Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:34 am

As a biker travelling to work through a congested city every day I see lots of people doing other things. Talking ,Texting reading papers, shaving putting on make up.(not all the same driver you understand :-) ) But of more concern is the increasing number of time I smell what they are smoking and it isn't Players No 6 or what ever brands are now sold.
Andrew Melton
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Re: Canada - Distracted driving...

Postby ChristianAB » Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:42 pm

Well, what else do you want those drivers to do? Their senses are cut off from the outside world by overly sanitized cars. The natural biological reaction is to seek stimuli however it can be achieved in that situation. Hence the irresistible pull of a phone for texting, or the irrepressible need to shave or put on make up. Boredom has that effect. Worse, there are not many ways to prevent boredom of that kind from producing "lapses" from time to time, even with trained drivers.

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Re: Canada - Distracted driving...

Postby Triquet » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:30 am

One of the problems with the mobile phone culture is that the person at the other end does not realise that you are driving unless you tell them. If the office calls while you are driving don't engage with them, just say "I'm driving and I'll call you back in xx minutes" and hang up. Nothing is really that important.

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Re: Canada - Distracted driving...

Postby dave51 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:57 am

I use to find that on a long journey my attention used to slip and fatigue would set in. My remedy was to light up a cigarette; smoking is such an automatic process that it did not conflict with attention on driving, even enhanced it IMHO, so long as I did not drop it.
That said, I no longer smoke in the car because it is now anti-social to throw ash and butts out of the window. (I always used to check for bikes and convertibles, and flammable verges, by the way).
Now I tend to rehearse my commentary.

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Re: Canada - Distracted driving...

Postby Horse » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:14 pm

dave51 wrote: Now I tend to rehearse my commentary.

Playing Devil's Advocate (aka 'Pain in the @rse' :) ) . . .

Producing a commentary slows concurrent hazard perception responses.


Commentary driver training involves teaching drivers how to verbally acknowledge their perceptual and cognitive processes while driving, and has been shown to improve performance in driving-related tasks. However, those studies demonstrating benefits of commentary training have not done so under conditions of live commentary, which is the typical protocol used with advanced drivers. In the current study we present the results of 2 experiments that show that producing a commentary can actually slow responses to hazards on a concurrent hazard perception task. In Experiment 1, participants producing a live commentary showed significantly longer hazard response times than an untrained, silent, control group. In Experiment 2, a shorter, clipped commentary was introduced to attempt to reduce the demands placed upon participants. However, both the clipped and full commentary conditions showed reduced accuracy and longer response times, relative to a silent condition, and no difference was observed between the 2 types of commentary. Analysis of eye movements in both experiments revealed that fixation durations were shorter when a commentary was produced but time to first fixate the hazard was not affected. This suggests that commentaries encourage more active interrogation of the visual scene, but that this can be detrimental to performance in average drivers.
Your 'standard' is how you drive alone, not how you drive during a test.

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Re: Canada - Distracted driving...

Postby Mr Cholmondeley-Warner » Mon May 02, 2016 8:47 pm

I was in a presentation last week where the (lady) presenter put up a picture of a gear lever in the context of "outdated technology". She was from the USA, and most of the audience were European. A number commented that perhaps the technology wasn't as obsolete as she thought. Her answer, paraphrased, went:

I used to drive a manual, but when I had a child, my priorities changed. I needed a hand to hold my Starbucks coffee, and now I had all these extra tasks to undertake, looking after my child, changing the CD etc. - she (the child) has so many little jobs for me to do. I don't have time to shift manually any more...

I decided not to prolong the discussion, but I wasn't alone in raising a curious eyebrow.

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