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Here’s all you need to know about distracted driving and how to avoid it

Texting, the researchers found, led to far more dangerous driving, while a “sixth sense” appeared to protect those suffering emotional upset or absent-mindedness.

more lifestyle Updated: Aug 16, 2017 14:47 IST
Asian News International, Washington DC
Driving,Distracted driving,Road trp
Texting has been one the most dangerous in-car activities that have led to accidents. (Shutterstock )

A team of researchers has produced an extensive data set examining how drivers react to different types of distractions, part of an effort to devise strategies for making driving safer. The study from the University of Houston and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute was conducted with 68 volunteers, all of whom had a valid driver licence and normal or corrected-to-normal vision, on a driving simulator.

Drivers were tracked with both thermal and visual cameras, along with palm sensors, sensors to measure heart rate and breathing rate, and an eye tracking system. Researcher Ioannis Pavlidis said that the study is the first to tackle three types of distracting elements - sensorimotor, such as texting; cognitive, such as absorbing thoughts; and emotional distractions.

Texting, the researchers found, led to far more dangerous driving, while a “sixth sense” appeared to protect those suffering emotional upset or absent-mindedness. Texting interfered with that sixth sense, letting drivers drift out of their traffic lanes. Additional investigation showed that “eye tracking and breathing rate proved useful metrics for measuring the impact of texting while driving,” Pavlidis said. “But that wasn’t helpful in cases of emotional or cognitive distractions.”

However, he said that the researchers found heart rate signals captured via wearable sensors and perinasal perspiration captured via miniature thermal imagers were able to track all forms of distraction.

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First Published: Aug 16, 2017 14:45 IST