The Lexus NX 4.6 Isn't What You Think It Is

Technology / Comments

It doesn't have a V8, but it does have windows that blind you.

In the car world, when we talk about a number like 4.6 seconds, we'd all guess that we're talking 0-60 mph times for a Ford Mustang, maybe a Camaro or a Nissan Z. But today we're talking about something imminently more dangerous: texting and driving. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, established by the National Safety Council (NSC) more than 10 years ago.

According to NHTSA, distracted driving claimed more than 3,000 lives in 2019, and the organization is calling texting the most alarming of them all. If you asked your average person how long it takes to send or receive a text, they'd probably guess 1 or 2 seconds. But in the 4.6 seconds it actually takes, at 55 mph you're covering an entire football field "with your eyes closed."

If you're going 84 mph, it's almost two football fields.

In the video, drivers are placed behind the wheel of a specially equipped Lexus NX with electrochromic windows that turn the clear glass to opaque instantaneously, "completely obscuring the driver's view for 4.6 seconds." It's the same technology found on the Toyota Venza. As you would expect on a cone course with a bunch of obstacles, chaos ensues. Oh, and the drivers didn't know about the windows.

The bleeped, expletive-laden video shows the drivers freaking out when the windows go blank. All of them either crash into a cone, a fake motorcyclist, a fake deer, or a fake wall. And all of them had a little more to think about after the exercise.

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Most of us do this, and most of us probably think, like the participants, we only look away from the road for a second. But even experienced drivers are known to swerve a little when checking or sending texts. That's why these hands-free systems are so important. It was great when we first started connecting our phones with Bluetooth, but we have even more options with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you have a car that's even close to modern, there's no reason to look down at your phone.

"Lexus wants to bring awareness to safety behind the wheel by changing perceptions about texting and driving," said Vinay Shahani, vice president of Lexus marketing. "Even the most advanced safety systems on the road today can't replace the undivided attention of the driver."

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