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Moderator

No spelling error as I am referring to those zombies affected by frequent usage of Zoom... 

Key risk factors:

  • Zoning out while driving is a likely occurrence (driver focused on a smaller view) 
  • Cognitive distraction has also been cited in the study (frequent checking of mobile phone while driving)
  • Deteriorating driving skills after working from home (less chance to drive and forgetting the basics)
  • Visual fatigue with long hours behind screen (slower in detecting changes and reacting to it)
  • In Singapore, there might be a 5th reasons: more irresponsible PAB and PMD users on the road resulted from surge in demand for food delivery services. So what's your take? 

“Zoom Zombies” Are the Driving Dead

Video call fatigue may be a factor in surging highway fatalities

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If you’re one of the millions of Americans who have been working from home and spending hours a day in video meetings you might notice it can become difficult pulling your thoughts back together at the end of the day. And if you then have to climb behind the wheel that could prove deadly.

A new study raises concerns about “Zoom Zombies,” motorists who can’t fully focus on the road ahead after a day of videoconferencing. This may be one of the reasons why in 2020 U.S. highway deaths posted their biggest year-over-year increase in nearly a century.

“COVID-19 fundamentally changed the way we interact with our vehicles,” said David Timm, founder and CEO of Root Insurance, which raised concerns about Zoom Zombies in its annual Distracted Driving Awareness Survey. “As many abruptly shifted to a virtual environment, Americans’ reliance on technology dramatically increased along with their screen time, causing a majority of drivers to carry this distracted behavior into their vehicles.”

Covid-19 and the distracted driving pandemic

road-rage.jpg

Distracted driving has become an increasingly serious problem as more and more motorists interact with smartphones and other technology while behind the wheel. Even before the COVID pandemic, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that more than 10% of highway fatalities involved distracted driving. Preliminary analysis suggests that has gone up since last year’s lockdowns began.

The Roots study found 64% of the U.S. motorists it surveyed acknowledging they check their phones while driving. That’s up 2% from last year, and 6% from the 2019 Distracted Driving Awareness Survey. Meanwhile, 53% of the respondents said they check their phones within the first 15 minutes behind the wheel — a 9% jump from 2019 — when they should be trying to shift focus to driving.

Add the fact that drivers are downplaying the risks. The study found three in 10 drivers don’t see the risk of driving while using a mobile phone. That’s up from 24% just a year ago.

But the study raised another concern: even when motorists aren’t texting or chatting on their phones, they still might not be paying full attention to the job of driving.

Driving skills have atrophied

Lexus-Driving-Disrupted-distracted-drive

That’s all the worse as we emerge from the pandemic, experts told TheDetroitBureau.com. During the last 12 months, most Americans have been driving less and even as roadways begin to look more crowded, “driving skills have atrophied for many people,” warns Sam Abuelsamid, principal auto analyst with Guidehouse Insights.

“It’s become harder to drive safely because you’re going to forget some of the skills you learned over time,” added Abuelsamid. “It’s not as easy as just jumping back on a bike.”

While he believes Zoom fatigue is “likely a contributor to the increase in highway fatalities,” how much it contributes is uncertain. What’s clear is that highway fatalities soared in 2020, even as motorists slashed the number of miles they drove.

Record surge in fatalities

Ambulance-at-crash-scene.jpg

Preliminary data indicated as many as 42,060 Americans were killed in motor vehicle crashes last year, the National Safety Council reported last month. That was an 8% increase from 2019. That surge occurred even though Americans drove a total of 2.83 trillion miles in 2020. That was a 13.2% decrease from the year before, marking the lowest level of driving by American motorists in two decades, reported the U.S. Federal Highway Authority.

So, on a per mile basis, the death rate surged by 24% in 2020, the biggest year-over-year increase since 1924.

Why does “Zooming” take so much out of people? It’s not like sitting around a table for an in-person meeting. Key visual cues are absent, such as body language, while others can overwhelm, according to psychologist Sharon Parker, director of the Centre for Transformative Work Design.

They tend to be sharply focused, without the normal chit-chat and other interactions that come before — sometimes during — and after in-person meetings, Parker wrote. One result: participants come away struggling to interpret what actually happened rather than transferring attention to what comes next.

And that may extend beyond the work day to when you’re behind the wheel and should be focusing on the road ahead.

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Turbocharged

Anyone held Zoom call from in their car while driving?

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Moderator

I tried attending zoom session while driving (with my camera off) once, and it is much more challenging than a normal phone conversation!

First, you are likely to be talking to multiple parties, thus more attention will be needed as well as more resources to process the different input / comments.

Next, zoom is about information sharing and you will have to take a peek at the screen to see the presentation material. Worst than say watching a video while on the move. 

Last, anxiety and/or frustration resulted from traffic conditions, conversations quality, having to monitor the time (especially if you have another meeting to attend).

I cannot handle. 1 time is enough for me. So now I either do zoom at home or in an uninterrupted environment when I have to rush out. Other than that I will decline the zoom invitation and use phone instead.

My live worth much more than the pay I am getting... 

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6th Gear
1 hour ago, Carbon82 said:

I tried attending zoom session while driving (with my camera off) once, and it is much more challenging than a normal phone conversation!

First, you are likely to be talking to multiple parties, thus more attention will be needed as well as more resources to process the different input / comments.

Next, zoom is about information sharing and you will have to take a peek at the screen to see the presentation material. Worst than say watching a video while on the move. 

Last, anxiety and/or frustration resulted from traffic conditions, conversations quality, having to monitor the time (especially if you have another meeting to attend).

I cannot handle. 1 time is enough for me. So now I either do zoom at home or in an uninterrupted environment when I have to rush out. Other than that I will decline the zoom invitation and use phone instead.

My live worth much more than the pay I am getting... 

Very true.. Humans are not naturally wired to multi task too many things at one time.. esp when we are driving, our focus needs to be on the road, not on the call.. not paying attention to the roads but getting all fired up talking on zoom while driving, may end up costing more than a heated conversation.. a life may be gone just bec we wanted to put in the last word in the call....

Many people now quote wfh as a kind of excuse to make you be available every sec and there is no reason to reject a call.. well, i disagree.. there are more things more impt in life than just a missed call...

 

 

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Supersonic (edited)

My mobile is on silent and kept in glove compartment whenever I am driving. 

No ear piece and ppl who knows me will either leave a msg or call again if they are unable to get thru the call at any attempt. 

I do not go on long car trips for fun locally so within an hour or so would have been able to either return a call or read any msg. 

Is a personal habit for many years. I did not connect my mobile to my car's headunit despite the availability.

Minimise being distracted as much as possible especially more idiots on the roads these days. I can't control their idiotic patterns but I certainly can choose not to be like them. 

Our lives more precious than wreaths and pay. 

Safe ride and stay safe all. 

Cheers 

Edited by PSP415
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2nd Gear
2 hours ago, Carbon82 said:

I tried attending zoom session while driving (with my camera off) once, and it is much more challenging than a normal phone conversation!

First, you are likely to be talking to multiple parties, thus more attention will be needed as well as more resources to process the different input / comments.

Next, zoom is about information sharing and you will have to take a peek at the screen to see the presentation material. Worst than say watching a video while on the move. 

Last, anxiety and/or frustration resulted from traffic conditions, conversations quality, having to monitor the time (especially if you have another meeting to attend).

I cannot handle. 1 time is enough for me. So now I either do zoom at home or in an uninterrupted environment when I have to rush out. Other than that I will decline the zoom invitation and use phone instead.

My live worth much more than the pay I am getting... 

I hope that zoom session of your did not last too long, or that you would have stop somewhere to complete the session upon discovering the danger of zooming while driving. 

Probably the next road safety programme for our Traffic Police should be "Don't Zoom and Drive" 😅

I find it challenging to have quality phone conversation while on the move even when using Bluetooth earpiece, as we either get ourselves isolated, or distracted by the ongoing in the surrounding environment. And with more errant road users (pedestrian and PMD users inclusive) these days, the more we have to focus on walking and driving.

And thank you for sharing your experience and advices. You have provided me with the bullets to say NO to my boss, who like to call his team member any time, any place. 

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Moderator
1 hour ago, SGCM928 said:

I hope that zoom session of your did not last too long, or that you would have stop somewhere to complete the session upon discovering the danger of zooming while driving. 

Probably the next road safety programme for our Traffic Police should be "Don't Zoom and Drive" 😅

I find it challenging to have quality phone conversation while on the move even when using Bluetooth earpiece, as we either get ourselves isolated, or distracted by the ongoing in the surrounding environment. And with more errant road users (pedestrian and PMD users inclusive) these days, the more we have to focus on walking and driving.

And thank you for sharing your experience and advices. You have provided me with the bullets to say NO to my boss, who like to call his team member any time, any place. 

I was <5 minutes away from my designation when I login to the zoom meeting (regional meeting), thinking that it was no big deal but I am wrong. 

I then avoid talking and glancing the screen for the next 2 - 3 minutes and respond only upon reaching my designation (at the carpark). 1st time and last time. Too risky multi task in this manner.

Having phone conversation while driving using the bluetooth system on my HU is much easier (no isolation issue), but I have to agree that it is still an unsafe act so I will avoid as much as possible.

Btw, not just attending zoom meeting or having phone conversation, driver should focus on driving once he/she is behind the wheel. Even frequent short glance at mobile phone screen or GPS display can be highly distractive. Our TP will have a lot on their plate to promote and enforce safe driving practices. 

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Twincharged

Waitaminit.....are we talking abt Mazda drivers?

 

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Hypersonic

Can't even hold a phone call properly, let alone zoom zoom meeting. 

 

It's matter of time.... when the inevitable gonna happen. 

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6th Gear
6 hours ago, Beanoyip said:

Anyone held Zoom call from in their car while driving?

I have seen but not in Sg... Southeast asians if coming close to 5pm u see them all siam their desks and head home to beat the jam

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Hypersonic

I did it for a zoom lecture before. Was at a medical appointment but as with our subsidised hospitals, the appointment time buay zhun one. Appointment at 9am and lecture at 11am. I even drove there as I thought, 1 hr should settle in hospital liao and would still have time to make it home for the online lecture but the appointment time came and went and I was still waiting. It was only my turn 40 mins past the appointment time.

So had to log in and watch and listen to the lecture for attendance on my way back from the hospital. I did not need to talk, just listen only. Nothing went wrong, all went smooth. Drove as normal without any incident.

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Moderator
1 minute ago, Adrianli said:

I did it for a zoom lecture before. Was at a medical appointment but as with our subsidised hospitals, the appointment time buay zhun one. Appointment at 9am and lecture at 11am. I even drove there as I thought, 1 hr should settle in hospital liao and would still have time to make it home for the online lecture but the appointment time came and went and I was still waiting. It was only my turn 40 mins past the appointment time.

So had to log in and watch and listen to the lecture for attendance on my way back from the hospital. I did not need to talk, just listen only. Nothing went wrong, all went smooth. Drove as normal without any incident.

same.  Jus listen in and it is like listening to radio.

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Moderator
On 4/13/2021 at 9:08 AM, Adrianli said:

I did it for a zoom lecture before. Was at a medical appointment but as with our subsidised hospitals, the appointment time buay zhun one. Appointment at 9am and lecture at 11am. I even drove there as I thought, 1 hr should settle in hospital liao and would still have time to make it home for the online lecture but the appointment time came and went and I was still waiting. It was only my turn 40 mins past the appointment time.

So had to log in and watch and listen to the lecture for attendance on my way back from the hospital. I did not need to talk, just listen only. Nothing went wrong, all went smooth. Drove as normal without any incident.

Listening to lecture is entirely different from attending zoom meeting, since you do not need to response and/or speak.

One should never attempt to attend zooming meeting while behind the wheel. Not hard to imagine the challenge of listening to multiple parties and responding to them one by one, and without able to take a better look at the data presented. Suicide move. 

BTW, the research quoted in the 1st post is about cognitive tunnelling after long hours on zoom, and jumping into the driver seat immediately after a zoom session might be hazardous given that we cannot focus well on the road.

For me, I will try to have at least 10 - 15 minutes break after a zoom session to get myself back to the real world, before heading for my car. And once I start the engine, I will stop thinking about work, to further reduce my mental workload.

I would encourage all to try my method. Or please share how you cope with zoom after zoom. Thanks. 

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Hypersonic

My other zoom meetings are more involved which couldn't be done thru a mobile phone like tutorials and group project discussions.

For tutorials, there will be worksheets to do and answer. Need to flip thru lecture notes, textbooks and research articles. 

For group project discussions, need to google search research articles, type out on google shared docs and discuss with the rest our ideas or points.

So I wouldn't even try to do such zoom meeting while driving. Will be very unfair to the other party and ultra unproductive. 

 

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