Lethal memory fail: Why drivers see, and then forget motorcyclists | CBC Radio, Hacker News
Driving simulation tests suggest that human memory, rather than negligence, may be responsible for “looked, but failed to see” collisions
A new study from the UK offers a surprising explanation for the frustrating and dangerous “looked, but failed to see” accidents. These occur when the driver of a car pulls out into the path of an oncoming motorcycle or other vehicle, even though they looked and seemed to see them.
These kinds of accidents may be quite common, and lead to tens of thousands of deaths every year, according to new work byDr. Peter Chapman, an expert in driving psychology. Surprisingly, he thinks driver negligence may not always be to blame. His new research suggests our short-term memory is at fault here.
“We’ve always assumed that [the drivers] just looked in the wrong place or were not paying attention,” Chapman, who led the study, toldQuirks & Quarkshost Bob McDonald. “But our research has suggested something different. What we think is that the car driver is actually seeing the bike, but forgetting it by the time they pull out.”
What did you see?
To understand what’s causing drivers to make these critical errors, Chapman designed a series of experiments that made use of the high-fidelity driving simulator at the University of Nottingham.
The simulator is a BMW Mini housed within a projection dome that provided the participants with a 360 – degree view of the simulated driving environment.