What’s going through your head while you’re driving?

There is a lot going on when you’re driving:  keeping track of your car, others’ cars, pedestrians, motorcycles, remembering your directions and turn signals, listening to your favorite music.  It is easy to understand why there are a lot of car accidents.

How does your mind keep from getting overwhelmed when it has so much information coming at it when you’re driving?

A new study has reported that the brain is actually quite selective about what it processes while you are behind the driver’s wheel.  We have all had instances where we had near-miss accidents and are astonished at why we did not see the obstacle clearly until we almost hit it.  The brain is actually seeing the obstacle, but then the brain quickly forgets that it was there at all.

This type of traffic accident reports for a lot of accidents, and a lot of these accidents involve motorcyclists.  It is something that our brains do without our consent.  If we were able to control this, we surely would choose to!  Unfortunately, it is due to the fact that our brains are taking in so much information at once that it has to leave space for other sensory information, and that leads to forgetting we saw it.

Sensory input is information that is coming from your environment involving the senses.  Sensory input can be visual, audible, tactile, aromatic, and tasted.  When your brain is trying to process sensory input, it means that it is really working hard to dissect the information and then decide what to do with the information.  Especially while driving, our brains are receiving, downloading, and adjusting to a huge amount of information at one time.  What is more astounding is that after receiving all this information, the brain has to decide what to do with our bodies, and how to move our bodies, to react to the information it just received.

It is a little wonder, then, that we have so many traffic accidents.  It’s a familiar scene to have a driver who hit an obstacle say they did not even see it coming.  Unfortunately, now we know, that the brain did see it coming, but was powerless to do anything about it at that time.  Now that we know this happens, a few techniques have been thought of that can reduce the chances of this happening to you.

Some of these techniques mean that you use more than one sensory input to help your brain remember it.

This means switching between types of sensory input to help your brain remember what is going on.  So, for instance, if you see a visual input, if you can add in another type of input like audio, then you are more likely to remember what you saw with your visual system.  This is the same reason that people who study for tests find it helpful to write down what they hear.  Writing things down takes it into another sensory input system, the tactile system.