Subaru Asia bot icon

The Psychology of Road Safety: Your Brain Behind the Wheel

How the smartest car safety features protect us from other drivers – and ourselves.

Our brains aren’t built to multitask

Multitasking is tricky. That’s because our brains aren’t wired to focus effectively on multiple tasks at once. And as we switch from one task to another, a frantic ping-pong match takes place in our head. Neuroscientists call this process “task switching”.

At the office, multitasking can lead to unintentional mistakes. In a car, unintentional mistakes can lead to disaster.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents globally. One factor impacting reaction time is speed: at 88km/h, you’ll cover the length of a football field in just five seconds. Another is the nature of the distraction: mobile phones have become the biggest cause of distracted driving, especially among younger drivers. In one study commissioned by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research, over 61% of drivers even admitted to playing cell phone games — while driving — at least once a week.

Fortunately, as drivers grow increasingly distracted, technology is finding new ways to protect us from ourselves. One of the best examples of this is Subaru’s EyeSight technology, which includes the Pre-Collision Braking system. The system’s frontward-facing cameras act as a second pair of eyes. For instance, let’s say you’re busy adjusting the radio and the driver in front of you stops abruptly. The Pre-Collision Braking system will immediately determine the likelihood of a collision – based on how fast you’re approaching the car in front of you, Subaru's EyeSight technology will apply the brakes to safely reduce your speed, or stop your car completely.


Why we rarely see what’s coming

The brain is a bit like a magician, making things disappear right before our eyes. Think of how your nose juts right into your central visual field (as you’ve probably just become aware of), and yet you rarely notice it. This selective filtering is what helps us focus on what’s important, and censor out what’s not.

But while our central vision and depth perception help us clearly see what’s in front of us, our peripheral vision is less detail focused. In fact, when we’re paying attention to what’s ahead, our peripheral vision virtually disappears.

Now imagine if you were able to see everything at once. By using radar sensors strategically placed in the rear bumper, Subaru’s Blind Spot Detection can tell you if a vehicle is approaching your blind spot. When that happens, a visual indicator in the relevant side mirror lights up.

Some models even come with a camera mounted in the side mirrors, projecting live images into a central monitor — helping to bring blind spots into view during parking manoeuvres.

The brain is a bit like a magician, making things disappear right before our eyes.

What happens to our brain when we daydream

When we daydream we essentially shift our brain into neutral and let our mind wander, and it’s something we all do much more often than you might think. It’s estimated that the average person spends about half their waking hours lost in thought. And while it’s hard to imagine daydreaming being dangerous, in one country-wide census of U.S drivers, the number one factor in fatal car crashes was daydreaming. Luckily, this is where advanced car design can step in.

To help snap drivers back to attention, Subaru’s EyeSight Lead Vehicle Start Alert feature notifies you when the car in front has moved off, so you don’t hinder traffic (or get honked at by an aggressive driver behind you while you’re thinking about your weekend plans). It’s one more of the hundred ways Subaru is looking out for your safety by constantly monitoring the road around you, helping to keep your mind focused on what matters most.

Find a Showroom

There's no better way to experience a Subaru.

Locate the nearest

Schedule a Test Drive

Experience Subaru performance from behind the wheel.

Book one today

Get a Brochure

See detailed specifications and explore helpful information at your leisure.

Request now