8 Ways to Drive in Wet Weather

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car

Attention! This car is powered by human brainwaves

Pay Attention

The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) of Western Australia has introduced the worlds first Attention powered car. Did you pay attention to the announcement?

Attention powered car
Image credit: RAC

How it works

Using brainwaves, the driver wears a headset while driving. The headset measures brain activity in real-time and monitors if the driver is focused by measuring the following criteria; engagement, excitement, fatigue, head movement rate and distraction. If the driver loses focus due to say, a sudden text message on their mobile phone and tries to take a sneak peek,  the device will detect that the driver has lost focus, and ‘reacts’ by slowing down the vehicle. As discussed earlier,  hands free technology doesn’t help minimize risk, so going along this particular route may be a step in the right direction.

Headset
The Headset. Image Credit: CNET

The Car slows down if at least one of these 3 things happen:

1. You switch tasks. i.e. your attention goes from the road to the radio.2. Your neural activity dips, or your blink and eye scan rate slows significantly i.e. you’re zoning out or fatigued.

3. The in-built Gyroscope detects that you’ve significantly turned your head away from the road.

International appeal?

Just like Sri Lanka, road safety is an issue around the world, with inattentive driving causing upto 12% of all motor accidents in Western Australia. Granted, the vehicle doesn’t look to be something which average motorists would buy-its highly unlikely that motorists would be inclined to wear a headset every time they go behind the wheel. Its a great tool to fight driver distraction but the results of these findings could be implemented in another way, say by creating an alarm which alerts motorists that they aren’t paying attention.

We are very excited about this technology. However, we want your thoughts. Tell us what you think in the comments!

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.


Sources

Find out More: Inattention, For The Better. [Accessed 13th November 2014].

Find out More: RAC’s Attention Powered Car, For The Better. [Accessed 13th November 2014].

Hands Free is not Risk Free

Question: Do you use a mobile phone or hands free headset while driving?

Be honest.

Stunning news

A new study sponsored by the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that drivers who use voice activated and hands free features to send texts, make phone calls, change radio stations or post on social media had a slower reaction time and higher level of distraction than those drivers who did not. This is a massive blow as it confirms what most people think: hands free is not risk free.

The mind can’t multitask

Although voice activated systems and hands free devices were designed to allow drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road, our brains cant multitask. According to the study, the area of the brain which processes moving images falls by 30% when talking on the phone. This means that drivers are more focused on the phone and a lot less on their surroundings, which can lead to more accidents.

Hands_free_phone
Image Credit: The Telegraph UK

Meanwhile… in Sri Lanka

Lets be honest: we’re at fault too. Whether it is to make a quick phone call home, texting the better half during rush hour, calling the kids so you can pick them up from tuition, ringing ahead to book a takeaway or even taking a picture of some hilarious Tuk Tuk Wisdom to upload onto Facebook. Its illegal and can cost you a major fine, or worse. The point is,  just because you have ways to multitask while driving, it doesn’t mean you should.

What do you think?

Do you feel that mobile phones/hands free headsets are a big reason for road accidents? Let us know in the comments!

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.


Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Measuring Cognitive Distraction-Part II

Going Drinking? Here are 3 Painfully Easy Steps to get Home Safe

This week is a pretty good week to be Sri Lankan: Two holidays in the same week!! During these holidays, people choose to relax. For all you adults out there, this usually involves going to a friend’s place for a glass of alcohol (sometimes more!). Here are 3 steps to ensure that you have fun, and still get home safe and sound.

If you are throwing a party

Offer non-alcoholic beverages: The best hosts never push their guests to drink. Be a good host and offer non-alcoholic beverages: juice, water, soft drinks. Chances are some of your guests may not seek to over indulge.

Have some food: A well filled stomach slows the rate of alcohol absorption. Make it a point to serve many appetizers (everybody loves chinese rolls) or even a good meal, if your budget allows it.

Keep an eye on your friends: The funny thing about alcohol is, you know when somebody has had too much. If your guests show any signs of being overly tipsy, ensure that you arrange a cab or pair them up with a sober friend. Hiding their keys is a good option if they are a really close friend. After all, you wouldn’t  want your friend to get hurt… do you?

DO NOT drink and drive

If you are going out to drink

Be responsible: You are a consenting adult and should know your limits. By all means, have fun. However, the last thing you want to do is to be that person who drinks too much and is the embarrassment of the party or worse, get involved in a nasty accident.

Choose a designated driver: If you are going out with some friends, decide who will be dropping you off, and ensure your driver doesn’t drink any alcoholic beverages.

Call a cab: If nobody in your group is sober, take another way home. The cab may get delayed on popular holidays, but its better getting home late by 30mins than not getting there at all. Make it a point to have enough money to call a cab/tuk when you are going drinking. It gives you and your loved ones peace of mind knowing that you will be back home alive.

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.

Vehicle Safety Checklist: These 8 Features Could Save Your Life

Whether you are buying your first vehicle or deciding to upgrade to a newer model, it is imperative to look into safety. Considering that there are a high number of road accidents in Sri Lanka it becomes necessary to look at safety features as much as the model, fuel efficiency, top speed, engine etc. Here is a review of the safety features you should look into: after all, it could save your life.

1) Seatbelts: These have been around for a long time and offer good protection during crashes. Some vehicles provide additional features such as extenders and pretensions, which provide passengers a safe position without compromising on comfort. Worn properly, these ensure that the passengers are inside the vehicle at all times and minimise the risk of individuals injuring themselves on the windshield, steering wheel or dashboard.

2) Parking Assistance: Parking can be an absolute nightmare, as drivers have to constantly keep looking over their shoulder. With intelligent parking assistance, drivers can use the sensors, cameras and steering angle to their advantage. Keep it mind though, it is still an aid, and unless you have a vehicle which self parks, you still need to learn how to park your own vehicle!

3) Airbags: These have been a standard feature for most vehicles since the late 1990’s. Sensors detect a collision and trigger the deployment of the bags, which inflate in the blink of an eye. These bags ensure that passengers and drivers minimise head injury. However, young children (under 13) must never be in the front seat as the air bags have the capacity to severely injure children and those who do not wear seatbelts. In the mid/late 2000’s,  side air bags were introduced as they offer additional protection to the passengers’ head and torso in the event of a side-on collision.

crash test

4) Sideview Assist: The sensors in your vehicle make it helpful to locate another vehicle in your blind spot and inform you via a beep or a light if there is a possibility of a collision. This technology is especially useful when a driver wishes to change into another lane but cannot see another vehicle as it in his/her blind spot.

5) Anti Lock Brakes:  These are a Godsend as they are designed to prevent the wheels from locking, thereby preventing your automobile from skidding. This is done by applying pressure quickly as the driver hits the brakes. This translates into a shorter stopping distance on wet roads, which is useful during the rainy season. All this enables the driver to control his/her vehicle, which can help reduce accidents.

6) Tyre pressure monitor: As we have mentioned earlier, ignoring tyre pressure can wear down your tyres and cause a blowout. In Sri Lanka, due to the heat and humidity, the tyres lose air  faster. The type of tyre pressure monitors vary as they can measure your tyre pressure directly, or estimate the air lost via the use of sensors. Nonetheless, its always best to check your tyre pressure manually the next time you go to a petrol station, just in case.

7) Electronic Stability Control: The Electronic Stability Control, aka ESC is a safety system which can ‘feel’ when the vehicle starts to lose control and takes over by applying the brakes in order to get the vehicle back on track. This is especially useful for drivers who drive on wet, slippery roads or end up driving for long hours at a time.Electronic Stability Control, is an excellent safety feature for your automobile8) Head restraint: A lot of individuals believe that these are simply used as a headrest. However, they are designed in order to restrict head movement if another vehicle collided with yours, especially in the rear. This allows for the reduction of neck and shoulder injuries for both passenger and driver. Ensure that the head restraint can be locked into position: it must be as close to the back of your head and as high as your eyes. If you share a vehicle, ensure that your head restraint is fit to suit your head in order to minimize injury.

Got more safety features we’ve missed? Tell us in the comments, and subscribe for more articles!

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.