A Photo for Focus

Carmen S

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Distracted and reckless driving is the leading cause of death for people my age. That’s a scary thought, but it isn’t as obstinate as many seem to believe. I’ve known the pain of losing someone you love to reckless driving, and I have spent much time contemplating what could help keep that feeling from becoming more common and cut back on distracted driving. One simple way we could cut back on distracted driving would be if everyone had a picture of someone they love in their field of view. Being watched by a pair of eyes has been shown to improve integrity. There are multiple studies that support this; for example, a study done at Newcastle University found that when a poster with eyes on it was hung at eye level, twice as many people cleaned up after themselves than with a poster of flowers. Many other studies similar have come to the same conclusion: when people are being watched they behave better. When you think about it, this just makes sense. Now imagine the effect of having a picture of not only eyes and a friendly face, but someone they care about. Using this same logic, what would the outcome be? Well, simple reasoning and critical thinking illustrate that if a lone pair of eyes can improve one’s integrity, then a recognizable loved one should be that much better. People are more likely to misbehave when they know they can get away with it than they are when they know they are being watched. This is actually one of the reasons the “Smile for the camera! You’re being watched!” signs are everywhere. Aside from the simple obligation to let people know there is surveillance in the area, when people know that they are being watched they are much less likely to try and do something illegal. So when you take into consideration the feeling of being watched, the artificial presence of a loved one, and a reason to be careful to come home safely, this solution could do wondrous things. For example, let’s say there is a driver only partially focused on the road. They had a bad day, and they are trying to figure out what went wrong in some particular part of it. Now imagine they look up and see a picture of someone they care about, let’s say their pet. They are no longer thinking about their bad day and now are thinking about their pet; they realize that they have not been focusing on the road as they should be and snap back to attention. Putting a picture in the driver’s line of sight will remind them to be safe. It gives the driver a reason to be focused, someone to think about, and will help to keep them calm during times of frustration Referring back to the reasoning used earlier, it seems only natural that it will be a lot harder to be reckless when you can just look up and see a picture of someone you hold dear to you happy because it reminds you that someone needs you. It will instead boost your serotonin levels and give you a fond feeling that will make you want to go see them, which will, in turn, make you focus more on getting wherever you need to go. Not only will this keep our drivers safe, but it’ll also prevent many people from having to suffer the loss of their loved ones due to reckless driving.