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The News of the Road – 11/6/09

November 6, 2009

News smallGreetings! It is a lovely fall Friday morning, and as I gaze out the window at the sun climbing over the trees which are blowing in the breeze, one word springs to mind:  News!

Ok…that is a complete fallacy.  My actual thoughts were: “my feet are cold, perhaps I should put on some socks.  Nah, they’re all the way over there.”  I’m not lazy, I swear!  And yes, my interior monologue does use words like “perhaps”.

Anyhow, on to a news story that vindicates some of us, condemns the rest, and offers you no choice in the matter!

Here’s the news: that jerkstore going 15 mph under the speed limit in the left lane right in front of you?  Yeah, that guy, the one who thinks he’s turning left but then at the last second realizes that’s not his turn…heck he’s not even in the right town!  And all the while, he can’t seem to fathom the concept of “lane”.  Then when he finally does turn, it is so awfully wide that he seems to completely ignore the turning lane.  THAT guy.

Apparently, we can thank his parents’ genes for his pathetic driving skillz!  Here comes the science:  Linky

I’ll go ahead and assume that you’ve read the article, so here are my thoughts.  As someone who works in psychology and has an interest in neuroscience…this isn’t terribly surprising.  Heck, there are genetic predispositions for pretty much everything, so why not driving?  Now to clarify, it isn’t as though our brain has a “driving gene.”  Just as with other genetic predispositions, it is quite a bit more complex than that.  So let’s break it down.

Driving is a complex task.  It requires you to coordinate constantly and rapidly changing sensory input with complex motor skills.  Anyone who ever said “I can’t play the drums, I can’t have my hands and feet doing different things,”  well, when you’re driving you are in fact doing just that.  Memory is also important, you need to develop and maintain motor memories to operate a 3500 lb machine, you need to remember all the rules and laws, you need to remember where you’re going, and you…I’m talking to YOU there…you need to also remember to not be a jackass.

Point being, any genetic variation that impacts your brain’s performance in any of these ways…is going to put you at a disadvantage when you’re driving.  This article provides some support; the specific variation they discuss results in less communication between brains cells, in essence slowing down your bitrate and RAM.

So the next time you see someone pulling a bonehead move, or just driving terribly in general, curb your road rage and say to yourself:  “It’s not their fault, blame Darwins.”

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