As our experience with the ever-increasing busyness of life grows greater, so do worries that our focus on technological gadgets is slowly shutting out the world around us.

It’s bad enough — and sad enough — that so much of so many lives is given over to computer games, music players and online activities, including “virtual worlds” where “avatars” live active lives at a passive player’s command.

Where once kids grabbed a glove, bat and ball, they now grab a game controller — or, for that matter, they just stand in front of a Wii or a Kinect and wave their arms or move their feet to watch an on-screen image do “real” things that aren’t real at all.

But we are also learning that when the real world forcibly intersects with the one between our ears, the results can be dangerous — or even fatal.

That’s been the lesson of researchers who have found that talking on a cellphone in a car, even the hands-free models, is just as distracting to drivers as being legally intoxicated.

Then there’s texting, an activity that takes the driver’s hands off the steering wheel, which you would think any person of sound mind would consider suicidal. Yet, the activity is common enough that some jurisdictions have felt it necessary to ban it, too.

True, there are other ways to be distracted behind the wheel, and drivers have been caught reading books or papers, applying makeup or turning around to discipline children in the backseat — all hazards on the road. That’s why Maine law addresses distracted driving in general.

But now, in a tragedy in Biddeford, we see that distractions can become hazards even when we are nowhere near a car. There, Sean Page, 49, died Monday after being hit by a train while crossing the tracks. He was wearing earbuds, a family member said.

While no one knows if he would have perceived his danger if he hadn’t had them on, headphone-related injuries have been increasing, with more than half of those involved being hit by trains, an academic study concluded.

Sight and sound are the primary senses we use to perceive the world around us. Blocking out one of them reduces our ability to interact with reality by fully 50 percent.

Increasingly, that’s becoming a fatal difference.

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