CONTACTTRAFFICABOUT TOM VANDERBILTOTHER WRITING CONTACT ABOUT THE BOOK

The Brain-Sucking Tendency of Left Turns

From the Edmonton Journal:

“The study, which included collaborators from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Baycrest in Toronto, involved 16 healthy volunteers; men and women aged 20 to 30, with seven years of driving experience, on average. The team looked at the brain areas activated when driving straight, versus making simple right turns, or left turns with or without oncoming traffic.

They found that making a left-hand turn in traffic lights up a “huge” network in the brain “that was well over and above anything we saw with straight driving or even turning right,” Schweizer said. Specifically, they saw dramatically increased activity in brain regions involved in visual processing, spatial navigation and motor co-ordination.

“Think about it,” Schweiz-er says. “You’re in a busy intersection. You have to look at your own traffic light, to make sure you don’t turn on a red, and you have to look at the oncoming traffic to time your manoeuvre so you don’t get T-boned.” Drivers also have to watch for pedestrians crossing in front of them, from the left and the right.

A right-hand turn is not nearly so demanding. “You have that oncoming traffic on the left, but you don’t have to co-ordinate as much,” Schweizer said.”

 

 

 

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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 7th, 2013 at 8:40 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “The Brain-Sucking Tendency of Left Turns”

  1. Max Power Says:

    The right turn can be done with so little thought that a motorist can run over a pedestrian or right-hook a cyclist without noticing anything out of the ordinary.

  2. David Says:

    I assume the results would be opposite in England.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

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