Tunnel effect in the car: what is it and how does it affect driving?

Publicado el 17/02/2020
Efecto túnel en el coche

Did you know that the speed at which you drive your car greatly affects your ability to see? This is the so-called tunnel effect. The faster you drive, the lower your peripheral field of vision. Therefore, the ability to perceive any type of risk on the road and to react to an unexpected event will also be reduced.

Tunnel effect: How and why does it occur?

When you drive, whether in urban areas or on the road, you are driving alongside people and elements at a certain speed. The higher the speed, the blurrier you see everything. Furthermore, you only have a clear view of what is in front of you, but not of your surroundings.

At a reduced speed of under 50 km/hour, the visual angle is 104 degrees. When the speed increases above 60 km/hour, the so-called tunnel effect begins to occur. At 65 km/hour, the visual angle is reduced to 70 degrees.

Driving above the speed limit on carriageways and motorways (120 km/hour) can be very dangerous. At 150 km/hour you will only be able to see the elements and people very clearly at a very narrow visual angle of just 18 degrees. Therefore, you will not be able to see anything outside this small angle.

In addition to reduced vision, there are other psychological aspects that make speeding a great risk on the road. At over 120 km/hour, fatigue appears more quickly and the chances of getting distracted increase exponentially.

Tunnel effect in the car

Can the tunnel effect be prevented?

Yes, it is very simple; all you have to do is drive at the speed recommended by the Directorate General for Traffic (DGT). And, of course, respect each and every traffic sign. In addition, on long journeys it is recommended to stop and rest every hour or two.

Don’t forget that, the greater your field of vision, the more information and signals you will have as a driver. Therefore, in the event of any unforeseen circumstances or obstacle, your reaction time will be lower, thus minimising the risk of an accident.

According to the DGT, it is of particular interest to be aware that speeding is one of the main causes of approximately 22% of fatal road accidents on Spanish roads. There are many drivers who, for whatever reason, do not respect the speed limits indicated by the DGT.

Now that you know what the tunnel effect is when driving and how to prevent it, you should be aware of the importance of always respecting the speed limits imposed by the DGT. In this way, your field of vision will be greater and you will suffer less fatigue, leading to reduced reaction times when faced with an unforeseen event.

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