To see ourselves as others see us (or don't see us!) when driving

Cars, buses and motorbike traffic in town

We have blogged before that T junction accidents accounted for many of those involving cars and bikes.

The Department of Transport conducted studies using experiments The experiments tested driver reactions at T junctions when faced with vehicles coming toward them on the main road (called ‘conflicting vehicles’).  Many of the results were marginal – it was hard to be sure if they had found a pattern or not.

But dual drivers (car drivers who also ride bikes) came out unambiguously well. They looked a bit further down the road and responded safely more frequently than the other participants.  

Dual drivers also gave approaching motorcyclists the greatest safety margin.  Perhaps surprisingly, novice drivers behaved quite similarly to dual drivers. 

It appears that experienced car drivers had difficulty either seeing or reacting to conflicting vehicles, despite being no difference in either the range of what they looked for or the distance they looked down the road.

That indicates that some of the problem is an ‘over learned’ strategy which they apply at junctions. Experienced car drivers appear to have learned how to look right through you.

Possible reasons for this and some suggested solutions next time.