Your Reflexes and Driving

This page was first published on the 5th of December, 2016 and last updated on the 5th of December, 2016 by Patrick Carpen.

Your reflexes may not determine how you act, but they certainly determine how you react. So what exactly are you reflexes? Let’s imagine that you are driving down a two-lane highway at 60 mph. There are cars close behind you and far in front of you. There are also cars coming intermittently from the other side of the road in the opposite direction.

Then, all of a sudden, something jumps into the path of the moving car, about five meters ahead. Your likeliness of making an accident in such a situation depends strongly on your reflexes. How would you handle such a situation? And how fast would you react? How fast you react depends largely on your reflexes.

First of all, in a matter of a split seconds, your brain would have to carry out a series of mental calculations. Your brain will then have to come to a conclusion and pass that information down to your hands and feet. Your hands and feet would then react based on the information passed to you by your brain. All of these processes are part of your reflexes.

Your brain would have to determine the following in a fraction of a second.

  1. Is the object in front of you disposable or precious? For example, a child is precious but a paper bag is disposable. A dog or a cat may be considered either ways, depending on your personality.
  2. Is the object in front of your dangerous if hit? A cow is certainly dangerous if hit. And so is a horse. But a fowl, a dog or a cat is not.
  3. If you swerve to the middle of the road to avoid a collision, are you likely to hit an oncoming vehicle?
  4. If you swerve the middle of the road to avoid a collision, would something that is trying to overtake you collide into you? You would have to glance quickly at the side and rearview mirrors before processing this calculation.
  5. Would hitting the brake be effective in such as situation? Or would it cause the car to skid, flip over or spiral out of control?

If you are able to come out of a scenario such as the one described above, without any damages, then you likely have very good reflexes. During my driving experiences, I have encountered many such scenarios, and I came out of all them accident-free, which proved that at that time, I did have good reflexes.

Some people are born with naturally good reflexes. Others develop it through training, nutrition, exercises and healthy lifestyles.

No matter how good your reflexes are, there are still steps you can take to improve them.

Some websites offers game that have been scientifically proven to improve your reflexes, as well as many other aspects of your physical and mental capabilities.

Related: Your reflexes and self-defense.

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