This week I was speaking to high school students about the dangers of distracted driving, and I was stumped by one of the questions they asked me.
How do you keep from being distracted by your car itself?
Of course, you have to pay attention to what’s happening on the dashboard in addition to what’s happening on the road. But how can you be visually, manually, and cognitively focused on driving your car when you see THIS?
The answer? It is impossible.
Next time I am asked that question during a distracted driving presentation, I’ll have a better answer. The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued voluntary guidelines for automakers to develop less distracting in-vehicle electronics, and to factor in how drivers see and control those electronic systems with their hands.
The distraction guidelines include recommendations to reduce electronic system complexity, to limit off-road glances to no more than 2 seconds, and to limit unnecessary visual information in the driver's field of view.