Traffic School Helped My Marriage


Why "Inattention Blindness" can hurt your marriage.

Saturday was my day to go to traffic school. I had to report there before November so my ticket for driving 50 in a 30 doesn't go on my record.

Before I get into my story, I want to let you know that I HAVE talked on my cellphone while driving my car. I’ve even sent a text messages or two. Or twenty. No, I haven’t done Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge. But after Saturday morning, I’ll be rethinking those decisions.

My traffic-school teacher had lots of information about texting and talking on the phone while driving. It was one of her passion points during my four-hour class. She mentioned that driving takes lots of our mental capacity. Since there are so many elements that can cause an accident, the government has set up regulations about what we should and shouldn't do behind the wheel. How To Get It On While Driving

Many states realize that texting causes accidents. The normal time it takes to look down at your phone and read a text is 4.6 seconds. She told us that we should always put 3 seconds between our vehicle and another one. So, if your 3 seconds behind a car, and you look down when they stop, that puts you 1.6 seconds into their rear bumper. Not good. 

But what about talking on the phone? Apparently, there have been lots of studies done about chatting it up on the phone and driving at the same time. She mentioned that talking on the cell phone is worse than smoking a joint and getting in a car to drive. (She didn’t suggest that you that you should smoke a joint and get in a car, she just wanted us to know that its actually more dangerous to talk on the phone while driving.) Backseat Driving or Shotgun Seat Critique?

Our brains are amazing. Let's say you’re driving. Music is on. Kids are in the back seat. You get a phone call. You answer and start talking. That person has no idea what’s going on in your car—If you’re in traffic, or on a winding road. So they keep talking to you. You keep responding.

Your mind is doing a number of things at this point: Talking, Listening to the radio, paying attention to the road, monitoring your kids in the backseat. It's at that point your brain does something interesting: it starts to shut down things it deems unimportant. Like your peripheral vision.

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