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Are your drivers mentally ready to control a vehicle?

There’s a new podcast on the Driving for Better Business website that’s well worth 20 minutes of your time.

Here are some of the comments made by James Tillyer, Managing Consultant at Ireland-based Transformotion, specialists in immersive driver training, when he spoke to Simon Turner at DfBB about the mental ‘clutter’ that can get in the way of driving safely.

“If we’ve got cramp, or a headache, or a cold, it’s quite clear. But it’s more difficult to know if we’re suffering from mental fatigue.”

He talks about eye-tracking technology in the cab: “The sheer volume of eye movements to point A to point B in a given journey is enormous and a driver doesn’t realise it, because it’s an involuntary movement. But it goes some way to explain why a professional driver feels so exhausted at the end of the day. It’s not just the physical task of driving, it’s also what their brain is doing, and where they’re looking.”

On personal issues that can impact driving style: “It’s very difficult for anyone to avoid thinking about the general rigours of life – but the result is almost always emotive. Things like anger, resentment, and worry all come to the fore.” When operating a vehicle: “That tends to lead to erratic driving, risk-taking, distraction, speeding. All the negative stuff. And obviously those are really detrimental to the safety of the driver and other road users.”

He goes on to talk about the role of ‘cognitive tunnelling’, the processing of highly critical task-relevant information, with limited or no processing of secondary information that may also be important to the task. He mentions a common daily issue: “A driver is travelling on an unfamiliar road and looking for an entrance. They’re so fixated with finding that entrance that things like a cyclist, or a tight bend, or warning alarms, become barely noticed or registered. What that means is that, through cognitive tunnelling, they’ve created risk for all other factors on the road.”

Listen to the podcast here:

James Tillyer
James Tillyer



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