Driving is a complex task and if you add mobile phones to the mix, it becomes extremely dangerous. To illustrate that point, the Motor Accident Commission asked a young Adelaide Football Club player and a Port Magpies legend to test their skills in a simulation.
The Crows’ Sam Kerridge and former Port Magpies player and coach Tim Ginever each got the chance to sit in a driving simulator. Donning a pair of specially-made goggles, they were faced with street scene complete with roads, footpaths, vehicles and pedestrians. After adjusting to the simulator experience, Sam and Tim were each asked to attempt to send a text message, while at the same time “driving” . Both of our volunteers found it impossible to safely drive while being distracted by their smartphone screen. They drove into simulated pedestrians on screen and crashed into other vehicles.
According to Sam, a lot of people might think that mobile phone use while driving is “pretty harmless” but the simulator was “an eye-opener, a bit of a shock”. After crashing into an animated pedestrian on screen, Sam said: “I looked up and even at 20 kilometres an hour, I still didn’t have time to brake. It’s daunting is it? I only had to look down for a split second. Tim also crashed into a simulated pedestrian during the experience. “Unbelievable,” he said. “I just looked up and ‘bang’. Imagine trying to live with that, that’s the sobering thing about the experience – I hit a child at 40kms.”
If you think you might be skilled enough to safely look away from the road and at your phone instead, think again. At 60 kilometres per hour, your vehicle is travelling at over 16 metres per second. Taking your eyes off the road for just three seconds to read a text means that you will travel almost 50 metres without looking at the road. Driving is complex and drivers need to focus on one thing: driving.
Get rid of the distraction. Turn your mobile off. Put it in the glove box.