Crash! Collisions in the Mind’s Eye

The Huffington Post:

My son was involved in a serious motorcycle accident some months ago. He was driving on a major avenue in Washington, D.C., going the posted speed, when a taxi pulled out from a side road, directly into his path. My son hit the brakes, but the cab was too close to avoid, so he deliberately took a spill. Both he and the bike slid under the cab, which mercifully stopped, inches before running over him.

DeLucia writes about the practical implications of this lab work in a paper that will appear in a future issue of the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science. Approaching vehicles are just like the computer-generated spheres, and are most likely misperceived in the same way. So it’s likely that drivers are risking collisions by turning late in front of small oncoming vehicles, like motorcycles, which appear farther away than they really are. Drivers are probably estimating, inaccurately, that they have more time than they actually do. In fact, DeLucia describes more realistic studies simulating actual traffic intersections, which show that motorcycles are more likely to be misjudged than are cars or vans.

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

Wray Herbert is an author and award-winning journalist who writes two popular blogs for APS, We’re Only Human and Full Frontal Psychology.

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