90% of the information we receive while driving reaches the brain through sight. The continuous changes in traffic conditions (environment, relative position, orientation, speed, direction) require the driver to constantly adjust his vision focus to understand his surroundings and make the best decisions to keep the car inside the vehicle. Track and without colliding with another object.
Many accidents could avoid the correct visibility and visual exploration strategy, which allows us to anticipate possible risks. Here you have the advice that Carglass proposes:
1. Lift your chin and look far away
It was one of the tips that gave you as a child to learn to ride a bike and the best that can give to a new driver. As was the case with the bicycle, looking ahead and far away – not what happens just in front of the hood – helps to maintain the trajectory without falling. In the case of the two wheels, without the need to make constant corrections on the steering wheel to keep us in the lane.
More importantly, it is that looking far away allows us to anticipate everything that may happen ahead of us and have the valuable extra reaction time to avoid an accident. If we look at what happens a few meters in front of our car, we will not realize in time of the typical highway braking that causes retention. When we see it, we will already have it on top, and there will be no material time to stop and avoid the collision by reach.
Paradoxically, novice, and inexperienced drivers do just the opposite. They invest most of their efforts in keeping the car on the road, but they do it with an erroneous visual strategy: constantly looking to the right and towards the areas closest to the front of their vehicle. And in doing so, they only see what they have a few meters ahead and are not able to detect relevant events that occur outside that field of vision.
The ability to look straight ahead must be trained and requires other complementary visual exploration strategies, such as sweeps.
2. Perform constant visual sweeps
If we only looked in the distance, we would barely get information on what happens to the left and right of the vehicle. For this reason, it is necessary to perform transverse (side-to-side) and longitudinal gaze sweeps (from near to further).
Depending on how we are, our sweep will do in one way or another. In the city, we ride at less speed, so it is not necessary to look so far, and the longitudinal sweeps reduced and shortened. Also, we circulate within an environment in which we will have many entrances to the road from the sides, mainly pedestrians and vehicles. For this reason, more transverse sweeps must make on both sides; and wider, to detect people or objects that can cross our path.
The opposite is true on highways and highways: we must go far with our eyes and make frequent longitudinal sweeps towards the hood of our car. When making a few entries and exits, cross sweeps will be infrequent. On conventional roads, with more entrances and exits, it will be more necessary to look left and right with relative frequency.
3. Peripheral vision
Peripheral vision is the ability to capture and recognize the information or movement that develops around the specific object or point on which we have fixed the vision. In other words, it is what we can see “out of the corner of the eye” while driving.
Our normal field of vision is about 120º, and peripheral vision allows us to have a field of up to 180º. It is a skill that can also train and that you usually more develop in people who practice team sports.
With peripheral vision, although we do not see the objects that appear at the ends of our field of vision focused and defined, yes, we can perceive that something happens that catches our attention. From that moment, it usually takes 0.5 seconds to turn your head and focus on that situation, to evaluate it and make a decision.
Keep in mind that, inside a car, there are elements that can hinder our peripheral vision, such as the A, B, and C uprights. And also that this field of vision reduced as the speed at which we drive increases.
4. The “tunnel effect.”
Why does our normal field of vision reduce with speed? At a higher speed, more information reaches the brain per second. To process it, our mind limits that information, discarding the one that understands that it is less important because it is further from the focus of attention and more to the extremes of our visual field.
If our field of vision stopped at 120º, in movement, the so-called dynamic field of vision reduced with speed. For example, at 65 km / h, it is reduced to 70 degrees, while at 100 km / h, the field of view drops to only 42 °. From 130 km / h, the tunnel effect begins to appear, because, with only 30º of vision, it is as if there were only black walls on our sides.