Processing your field of vision while driving, as opposed to skimming

by phil on Saturday Apr 19, 2008 2:58 PM

I'm a paranoid driver, trying to figure out how to control safety. One trick that I've been working on lately is to maintain a constant level of focus on the objects in my field of vision. The problem that occurs is that I get so lost in thought, that my physical faculties related to vision are occupied imagining and visualizing thoughts that it doesn't process what is in front of me.

The trick I've been using is to bounce my eyes from "object" to "object" in my field of vision. I put "object" in quotes, but what I'm talking about is my eyes will, for example, focus on the left red tail light of a car in front of me. My eyes will move to it almost instantly, but there will be some time period, let's call it a recognition time, that it takes for me to process that thing as a red rectangular object of light. Once I've made the recognition, then I'll move my eyes to let's say, the letter O in "RIGHT TURN ONLY." I'll "see" the O immediately, but it may take 10-80ms to "recognize" that I'm looking at a ring that represents a letter. Other times I look at simple shapes, for example, if I'm in a valley, I'll recognize the U shape of the horizon.

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