According to new findings (Feb. 28) from researchers at St. Michael's Hospital, drivers making a left-hand turn while talking on a cell phone are in danger. It could be the most dangerous thing they ever do on the road.
The study mapped the brains of test subjects while they made left-hand turns in a simulated setting.
The MRI showed the left-hand turns required a huge amount of brain activation which covered more areas of the brain. The left-hand turns were compared with straight roads and other maneuvers.
When the drivers talked on the cell phone, their vision was vastly reduced. This happens due to the blood moving from the visual cortex to the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex needs to be activated for decision making.
It is explained that when drivers need to answer simple questions, the blood in the brain moves in a different location to accommodate the thinking processes.
The researchers deduce the vision shuts down while making left-hand turns, thus making it more dangerous to talk while driving.
U.P.S. brought the idea of limiting left-hand turns for a different reason years ago. In 2006, a spokeswoman from U.P.S. stated the company saved 28.5 million miles off its delivery route by using a software that mapped routes which reduced left-hand turns, according to a New York Times article. The reason given was the wait time for oncoming traffic to make left-hand turns wasted gas from idling.
With the present findings, it can be said the thought processes needed to talk on a cell phone takes the attention away from making safe left-hand turns.
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