Distracted driving doesn’t just mean texting and talking behind the wheel. It’s anything that takes your eyes off the road. And new research from MIT shows that car crashes involving distracted driving are increasingly being tied to GPS screens and dashboard information systems - and the typeface users are choosing!
Researchers analyzed the eye movements of volunteers in a driving simulator to see how the typefaces on dashboard screens impacted their reactions. The result: Drivers took their eyes off the road more often – and for much longer – when they used a popular typeface called Eurostile, which has squared-off letters that are tightly packed together. And they looked away less often when they used a typeface called Frutiger - which is curvier, with more widely-spaced letters. And the extra time processing the information printed in Eurostile means that, at highway speeds, drivers would travel an extra 50 feet while not looking at the road, and raise their risk of not seeing the car stopping in front of them.
If you have the option of changing your dashboard display, pick a font with round, open, easy-to-read letters. But no matter what typeface you use, experts recommend inputting your destination before you start driving, Then, you can keep your eyes on the road in front of you – where they belong.