Online Games: A Bittersweet Treat

They say the human body can go without food for 3 weeks, 3 days without water, typically 7-8 minutes without air. Did you notice I just listed the 3 essentials primarily needed to sustain human beings or life for that matter? The question is why all of a sudden I decided to go all science or encyclopedia on you.

What if I was to tell you while conveniently ignoring our evolution from monkeys, we have evolved to a level where these three things are no longer the only things that we need to sustain life. Knowingly unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, slowly and steadily it has crawled its way as one of the fundamentals for survival. I am of course talking about mobile phones and its minions (tablets, smartwatches and stuff).

If we all be honest with ourselves, I guess 90% people will agree with me when I say that we cannot live without our mobile phones for longer than a minute. Call it a force of habit, being enslaved to them or whatever but that is the sad truth that none of us want to face. With social networking playing a pivotal role in the lives of people of all age groups, people seem as if they are infused with a need to become “cool” and as a result, the need for mobile phones has risen drastically. That vibration and sound of receiving a message have become more imperative than eating, sleeping, and all day-to-day activities.

Phantom notification syndrome (the tendency of someone to believe they got a notification when they have actually not) is not just an observation about the youth but for almost all people with a “smartphone” these days. It is as if we have been programmed to check up on our phone every minute or two for no suggestive reason. And if it is not to check up on our zero messages it is either to take a selfie, or just to console ourselves we are looking fine, or to play games. In a very rare instance, it is a task outside these 3 categories.

And if we examine objectively, after messaging/texting/tweeting/Instagramming, the next favorite thing of people is to tire out their fingers playing games.

After WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram this is the thing in common in all devices. So simple and yet so addictive. The craze for the online game is such that at a point even I started playing it and I don’t remember how my following month passed. I mean there cannot be a single person who does not daily get flooded with games requests daily. It’s hard to put to words as to what makes the mobile game this addictive it’s dope sound effects, its ever-increasing difficulty as you progress, its simple interface, or what, is a mystery yet to be solved. But there is one thing laid down in concrete – it’s definitely going to stay a favorite among people for a long time to come.

Speaking in the context of phones, Matthew Perry aka Chandler Bing would say “You feel complete when you hold it”. Phones are everywhere. And all those phones, unified by this delicious game apart from the regular social apps. And swiping the screen to match 3 candies has proven itself as the best time killer. Given the fact it is totally free has more and more people a slave to bust their stress on innocent candy.

Safer Cars Does Not Mean Safer Roads

These days, it is pretty standard for cars to include top of the line safety features. These range from rear-view cameras, lane departure warnings, traction control and even blind spot detection.

Driving a safe vehicle can also mean more money in your pocket as drivers can save on car insurance cost. A car insurance company is generally able to provide more affordable car insurance if your vehicle has safety features. However, safer cars do not necessarily mean safer roads across the country.

From January to June, approximately 18,720 people have died on U.S. roads. As a result of a growing economy, people are driving more miles compared to recession level data. Less unemployment means more cars are on the road getting people to and from work and more money for leisure activities. In 2017, Americans traveled 3.22 trillion miles according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Factor in more miles driven along with speeding, drug and alcohol impaired driving and distracted driving and the fatality rate is at an all-time high.

South Carolina leads the nation in traffic fatality rates per miles traveled. In 2017, the state had 1.88 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, which is almost two times the national average. Illinois reported 1,090 traffic deaths.

This trend prompted Governor Rauner to declare August 17 as Traffic Fatality Awareness Day at the Illinois State Fair through a partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Health, Illinois Secretary of State and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

States across the country have launched similar awareness efforts like Vision Zero. Vision Zero’s goal is to strategically eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries while increasing safe, healthy and equitable mobility for everyone.

Reducing speed is perhaps the most effective way to reduce the fatalities. Speed increases the distance it takes a car to come to a complete stop. The speed of impact is also directly correlated to the risk of death. The higher the speed of impact, the higher the probability of a passenger dying becomes.

Even with lower speeds, it is hard for police officers to enforce these lower limits. Automated cameras are already unpopular and adding more would also be costly.

Every year, an estimated 40,000 Americans die on the road. With effective legislation and commitment, we can all work together to reduce that statistic.

According to research by the Overseas Development Institute and the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, one way to make progress is to treat traffic fatalities and road safety as a public health issue. The public has to stop blaming drivers for collisions and look to policymakers for ways to help prevent them.