By on February 24, 2011

Think using your cell phone or other in-car distractions don’t affect your driving? Don’t try to prove it on the road (jackass), put your reaction-time skills to the test at the NYT’s multitasking reaction-time game. While using your keyboard to navigate gates, a cell phone will distract you with New Yorkian requests which you will have to answer while continuing to navigate through randomly-opening gates. The Times team that came up with the game explains

We weren’t trying to be an exact simulation of driving down the highway or the road — it’s not realistic to have all those gates and people often text in shortened words. It is a game to give you a sense of how a distraction can decrease your ability to react quickly

When you finish, the game will tell you how much multitasking impaired your ability to navigate. Let us know how you did, and if the game changed your opinion about distracted driving.

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6 Comments on “Distracted Driving: The Video Game...”


  • avatar
    N Number

    That didn’t take long to get irritating enough to abandon.

  • avatar
    dismalscientist

    The game highlights a common conundrum: your impulses don’t reflect what you value most.
    It’s like saving a bag of M&Ms while dropping your laptop. The bag of M&Ms starts falling, and in an effort to save them, you drop your laptop. You clearly don’t value the M&Ms more than your laptop, but the impulse is there.

    That’s what this – and its real life counterpart – feels like; you feel a sense of urgency in responding to the text, when there really is no reason for it. Of course you wouldn’t imperil yourself for answering a friend’s pointless text – but you do it anyways. We’re basically cavemen, so our minds and impulses don’t always match.

  • avatar

    Sure, ” We’re basically cavemen, so our minds and impulses don’t always match”.
    But you can train yourself not to follow your impulses to phone or text while driving. Or arguing with your girl friend or in-laws while doing so,  fiddling around with the stereo, sipping a drink, having lunch…

    • 0 avatar
      armadamaster

      I couldn’t navigate it without trying to reply on their text messages.

      If they are going to start banning distractions in cars, then they better ban all of them, makeup, kids, arguing with your spouse, food, radio, because they are all equally distractions.

  • avatar

    Geez…if I had to make that many lane changes that fast in real life, I’m not even sure I’d be listening to the radio.

  • avatar
    WRC555

    1% more gates missed while NOT texting vs. average 8 seconds missed while texting. What? Guess I am more focused if I need to multi-task.


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