If you haven’t read ‘Room for a view’ part one, have a quick start there and then this will make more sense…maybe!
Ok, so the results are in. As of this morning, 44% of voters said painted lines on the freeway are 5ft long, 24% said 2ft, 18% said 8ft and only 15% said 10ft. Answer? It depends…but it is never under 10 ft. according to my definitive research team. An American study indicates US lines are 10 ft, but I had a chance to talk to my Dad yesterday and he personally measured 16-18 foot lines in 3 different spots in BC a few decades ago (really!). I had 10 feet in my mind, so upon further intensive research, where did I find my confirmed Canadian answer? If you can believe it, right on the BCIT website for our Civil Engineering program. The length of the lines “depends on the speed limit – sometimes the paint segments are actually five meters long (about 16 feet).” Dad, you were right on!! The point of the US study was that most people thought lines were 2 feet long. In our poll, 85% of us believed the lines to be 8ft or under….which is too short.
The point? Both speed and angle of how you view the lines changes your perspective and therefore your understanding of how long those lines are.
I was in a video game store with Chris many years ago when he was about 7 or 8 and a lot shorter! You know those video game display demo things they have at the front of the store? He could easily reach the controls and he was trying out a game. I was looking at the screen as he played. ‘Look out’, I said, ‘you’re going to get hit’….and sure enough his player bit it. This happened 3 times. I asked Chris why he didn’t move his man…he said he couldn’t see. I asked him what he was talking about, it was so obvious…just move your player to the right.
I can’t see Dad. What? Then it dawned on me. I knelt down so my head level was at the same level as Chris. Because of the angle of the screen and my ‘NEW PERSPECTIVE’, it was obvious. The screen was angled and you could only see a shimmer of action at that level, not the full game. What was ‘obvious’ to me, was not obvious to him, largely because of our angle of approach.
I’ve never forgotten that video game story and it’s helped me many times to remember to check my perspective. The dashed lines on the freeway exercise is an interesting one as it challenges our understanding of what we think we see. These blog posts are called ‘Room for a view’ because it’s a reminder to me to always be aware of seeing situations (work, family, life, business) from multiple perspectives. Your speed and approach may lead you to greater understanding, room for another viewpoint…Chris taught me that on a video game system when he was 7 or 8.