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How our bodies shaped driving – Part 4

Have you ever thought about why cars are designed the way they are and driving is how it is?

Last week we talked about speed limits, seeing people in time and avoiding them. But what about us, the driver, how are we kept safe if it all goes badly wrong?

Besides the interior of the car being made softer to minimise damage to ourselves. We wear seatbelts. These belts are designed to work with your bones. Specifically, the diagonal should go across your collarbone and the horizontal across your hip. The important thing is your bones are solid and will, along with a properly fitted seatbelt, protect your internal organs.

Over the years cars have grown head restraints. Your head is a large lump of bone with a pointy bit at the back. This will rotate backwards unless contained by the head restraint. Not adjusted properly it could become a very real pain in the neck.

How you hold the wheel will have a very real effect. If you’ve adjusted your seat properly your arms will be slightly bent. They will be your shock absorbers. Having two hands on the wheel at 10 and 2 will prevent you twisting violently if you have to stop very suddenly and unexpectedly.

In part 1 we talked about the eye. The eye itself sits in a socket which defines your field of vision. You can measure your own field of vision by extending your arms and sticking your thumbs out. Move your arms out to the side holding your head still. Stop at the point your thumbs start to disappear and this should give you a range of 180 degrees plus.

Having 2 eyes gives us a depth of vision. However, you can still drive an ordinary car with only one eye. Put your left hand over your left eye, extend your arm and thumb to the point where it disappears on the right. Now track its movement as you move right to left. Your view of your thumb to the left is now only limited by your nose.

So in an ordinary car even with only one eye, you will be aware of the width of your vehicle. You cannot drive larger, wider vehicles unless you have some vision in your defective eye. This again is so you are aware of the width of this much wider vehicle.

Stay tuned for more on how our bodies shaped driving.

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