Road Safety Week Across Canada – What is Inattentional Blindness?

Road Safety Week Across Canada – What is Inattentional Blindness?

May 16th is the beginning of a week-long nationwide initiative to raise awareness about road safety. Every Canadian can make a difference when it comes to helping make our roads safer for motorists and pedestrians alike.

The use of electronic devices while driving and other forms of distracted driving are creating headlines across the country: provinces are announcing laws and education programs to curb dangerous behaviour behind the wheel. However, that is just one small aspect of increasing road safety.

The prohibition of the use of hand-held devices (cell phones, GPS, mp3 players and other entertainment devices) doesn’t account for ‘Inattentional blindness, or perceptual blindness, which is the phenomenon of not being able to perceive things that are in plain sight.’ (Source: Wikipedia).

A groundbreaking study revealed to researchers “It’s not a question of what your hands are doing. It’s a question of what your head is doing. And so when your head is engaged in that phone conversation, you become blind to some of the things happening around you,” said Dr. Ira Hyman of Western Washington University.” (Full Story)

So, with respect to what YOU can do for Road Safety Week; my challenge to Canadians is to pay more attention to what your head is doing when driving. Be it your phone, texting, adjusting the radio or dealing with rambunctious kids in the back seat; if your mind isn’t focussing on the road the likelihood for collision increases…PERIOD!

Tips for Road Safety:

  • Put your phone down & leave it there – better yet, turn it off
  • Set your GPS before you start your trip
  • Create a travel playlist of tunes on your music device
  • Talk to your kids about the importance of you being able to focus on driving
  • If you drop something, leave it until you can safety stop to find it
  • Don’t eat while driving – yes, I’ve seen someone with a bowl of pasta in one hand, a fork in the other and steering with their knee
  • Slow down in school zones
  • Wear your seatbelt – it can save your life
  • Use the correct child restraint for the age/size of your child
  • Save shaving, applying make-up, dressing and undressing for home!
  • Slow down and pull over for emergency vehicles
  • Pay attention in construction zones and look out for flag people
  • Pedestrians – YOU ARE NOT IMMORTAL – cross roads safely, wearing earbuds can be deadly if you can’t hear what’s coming, vehicles cannot stop on a dime … that’s if they even see you
  • Most of all, don’t allow one wrong choice to end a life, maybe yours

National Road Safety Week – BC Media Coverage

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