Texting while driving is super dangerous. It requires you to take both your eyes and hands off the wheel, so it's basically like occasionally blindfolding yourself while steering a massive hunk of metal that weighs several tons at high speeds, often through populated areas. Everybody knows they shouldn't do it, but when they hear that familiar "ping," some people just can't seem to wait.
Since racing games are often about navigating roads in the most dangerous way possible, that's exactly what SMS Racing asks you to do: text your friends while speeding towards the finish line. You spend the entire game driving with a smartphone in your hand, which I sincerely hope real people do not, and when you hear the chime of a text message, you have to read it and respond to it within 10 seconds. After all, you wouldn't want to be rude.
Originally released as a browser game, the tongue-in-cheek SMS Racing is headed to virtual reality platforms later this year, where it promises to "unleash the power of head-tracking technology and your musculoskeletal system to look at your phone or the road. But mostly the phone. There's nothing stopping you, except for anything you happen to drive into."
And boy, do you drive into a lot of things. I hope that the message people internalize from this game is not that texting while driving is fun, but rather that it is roughly as intelligent and safe as most of the things you do in racing games, like shooting motorists with missiles or driving off ramps at a hundred miles an hour.
In March, motorcyclist Samuel Ayres stopped at a red light and noticed a driver using a phone. He told the driver, "Put down your fucking phone. You're in your car." The driver apparently did not appreciate the advice so he followed Ayres, sideswiped him and knocked him off his motorcycle, and drove away. Ayers is soliciting donations to pay for the resulting bills.
You don’t want to mess with your phone much while driving, period.
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Shenzhen, China police posted on social media that drivers who use their headlights inappropriately are being punished by staring into headlights for five minutes.
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The US government is analyzing data from what it claims is the biggest study on how pot affects how you drive. The participants in the study at the University of Iowa vaporized marijuana (smoke-free campus!), drank, both, or had a placebo and took the wheel of a driving simulator.
"When it comes to cannabis, it's a lot trickier than when it comes to alcohol," says Colorado State Trooper JJ Wolff. "I can't tell you if one joint is going to make you high to the point where you can't drive. That's a really hard question to answer at this point. ... "The safest thing to do right now: If you are going to drink any amount, don't drive. And if you are going to consume any amount of cannabis, don't drive."
"Feds test how stoned is too stoned to drive" (USA Today)
Japanese tire dealer Autoway released this commercial to scare you into remembering the importance of good traction. I think that's the point anyway.
A driver "who can see for a distance of only a few feet" embarked on an 85 MPH sprint
through Sheffield, England, after cops tried to pull him over on suspicion of driving drunk. He was jailed for nine months after admitting to dangerous driving, reports the Daily Mirror.
If I had a chauffeur, I'd want it to be Tom Vanderbilt. I have no idea if Tom is a good driver, but he has a wealth of compelling, curious, and provocative knowledge about the psychology and science of our lives behind the wheel. He's the author of the bestselling book Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do (And What It Says About Us) that has enlightened everyone from transportation policy groups to road safety consortiums to those of us who just insist that no matter what lane we're in, the other one is moving faster. Tom gave a fantastic talk at Boing Boing: Ingenuity, our theatrical experience last month in San Francisco, where he imparted wisdom on late merging, the demographics of honking, and highway hypnosis.
Boing Boing: Ingenuity in partnership with Ford C-Max.
[Video Link] Matthew says: "Here's a video taken from inside the Mitsubishi Evo 10 during the 2013 Coimbatore Rally, part of the Indian National Rally Championship. The car is being driven by Samir Thapar and his co-driver/coach, Vivek Ponnusamy."
I've heard anecdotal evidence that lifesize cardboard cut-outs of police officers in shops can deter shoplifting. Now Bangalore police are using the same method to deter traffic violators. "It is not a gimmick. Wherever we have put up these cut outs, violations have come down," Traffic Commissioner MA Saleem told the BBC
I don't know why this never occurred to me before, but today on Twitter, several people who are attending the 2011 Accessibility Summit pointed out that traffic lights aren't, traditionally, accessible. Think about it. If you're colorblind, does red, yellow, green tell you as much information as you need, as easily and quickly as you need to know it?
Turns out, some Canadian provinces deal with this by adding shapes to the lights, as well as colors. This is an example from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Thanks to Seth Meranda for linking it!
Image: Sprocket at en.wikipedia. Used via CC.