Friday, September 10, 2010

Does anybody think messing with a driver's reality is a good idea?

3D Image of Child Chasing Ball

Illusion in Street Tries to Change Driver's Attitude

Can you imagine driving down the road and seeing this image? It looks like a child, right in front of you. If you were distracted, you have only seconds to decide. Should I swerve into oncoming traffic or into the tree, or drive straight over the child. Personally, for me, I am pretty sure what the answer is. First, protect the defenseless child, second, protect the passengers in my car (if any), third protect other drivers. Please note that the odds of me just running over the "child" are really low.

On the other hand, there is a chance that I could be suspicious of the optical illusion. Now you are forcing me to alter my view of reality and question my ability to perceive what is around me. I am not questioning if I am driving too fast. I am more distracted than a drunk driver, questioning if what I am seeing is correct, marveling at the illusion, thinking about taking a picture, thinking about calling someone, ...." All while driving a several thousand pound vehicle down the road. Hrm.....good idea? I think not.

Assuming I pass the test, realize it is an illusion and drive over it, what next? I have run into this scenario almost exactly in real life. My best friend at the time was driving. It looked just like the image. Ball comes out from blind spot (he stoppes and says wait for it), child comes out from blind stop, stops, bends over to pick up ball, and right then looks up for the first time. If he had not been paying attention, the child would likely have died.

Now, if this kind of artwork gets people ignoring this kind of image in the road it will cause people to do something very dangerous. They will have a mental bucket that says, "a fake image on the road". This is bucket to which they will likely only assign fake images. When they are distracted though, there is a chance that they will put a real child with a ball or other object into that bucket. We really do not look at things. We glance just long enough to classify them and then mentally hold up the fake object. How many times have you clearly seen something only to later look closer and find out you were completely wrong. If you cannot think of an instance, contemplate monsters you could see before the lights were turned on.

For the sake of my children and other's children, please don't place mind altering images on the road. You will only end up killing people!


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