If you’ve spent any time on the road lately, this news should come as no shock at all. Drivers are dumb. Scientists have proven it. They’ve also revealed that it’s driving that makes people dumber.
Researchers from the University of Leicester found that driving more than two hours a day reduces your brain function, actually lowering your IQ.
For this study, the scientists used IQ tests and memory exercises to analyze the mental capacity of nearly 500,000 people over a five-year period. Of those participants, the 93,000 who drove for at least two hours a day typically had lesser cognitive skills at the beginning of the research – and they declined faster over the five-year study than those who spent less time behind the wheel.
Closer to home, several of the high-profile accidents over the past few weeks that shut down the 401 around the Toronto and the GTA have been caused by trucks. People behind the wheel of transport vehicles spend way more than 2-3 hours on the road a day. Unfortunately, the Leicester did not include results on those people who drive vehicles for a living.
Leicester University researcher Kishan Bakrania said: “We know that regularly driving for more than two or three hours a day is bad for your heart. This research suggests it is bad for your brain too, perhaps because your mind is less active in those hours.”
That explains a lot: “Because your brain is less active…”
Having driven extensively around Toronto and Montreal, I have no difficulty believing that too many drivers’ brains are less active. That’s the problem.
Your brain should be more active while driving. You’re controlling a heavy metal vehicle with a powerful engine that is literally exploding gasoline to drive pistons at an incredible rate. Other heavy vehicles are thundering by on all sides. There are kids playing alongside the road, bicycles everywhere. Sudden traffic slowdowns and stops. The list goes on.
The average commute to work in Toronto is 42 minutes. So, just getting to work and back equals almost enough time on the road to cause diminished mental capacity. Hit traffic or run a few errands and you’re at the two-hour mark.
Save your IQ. Don’t let your brain go inactive while behind the wheel. (And for %$#@ sake, put down the phone.)
Stay safe out there.