Get Off the Road!

27 Jan

We were joking tonight about bad drivers. You know the kind. The really bad ones. Not you, of course, everyone else.

My friend works at the new Home Depot – right next to the brand new Super Wal-Mart. He declared that all people that shop at Wal-Mart should be forced to take another driver test and then when they fail (not if) they would be forced to take public transportation. You know, he’s got a point there. It seems that every time he goes to work he is nearly run over by at least one person on their way to Wal-Mart.

This conversation got our brains thinking. What is it that makes people such bad drivers? We’ve all done it. Driving along, making several stops and turns when we suddenly shake ourselves out of a deep thought and remember WHOA! I haven’t been paying any attention for the last 5 minutes!

I think that the increase in automatic transmissions and the unavailability of stick-shift vehicles (manual transmissions) is a big part of the problem. We have always tried to get a manual transmission. Unfortunately, they don’t make vans like that anymore. I find that I am a WAY better driver in a stick. I pay more attention to what I am doing and where I am going. Granted, an automatic in a van full of four kids does come in pretty handy; but should I be driving while I’m so distracted.

Another thing to think about. When driving a stick you are using your right and left feet as well as your right and left hands thereby using both halves of your brain. In an automatic, for most of us right handers, you use only your right foot, and often only your right hand. Does that mean only half your brain is focused on driving? And if so, what is the other half doing? Daydreaming?

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