Road accidents; pedestrians' beliefs regarding visibility at night

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“The tendency of pedestrians to overestimate the degree to which they are visible to automobile drivers at night was investigated. There were sixty-nine subjects, University students. The general method was to get the subjects to walk either away from or towards the headlights of a stationary automobile, and to indicate, by the depositing of pegs, the points along the road at which they held certain beliefs about their visibility to the ‘driver.’ … The data thus obtained indicate that an appreciable percentage of pedestrians overestimate their visibility … to a dangerous degree, while introspective notes indicate the presence of various untenable beliefs which help to account for this tendency.” The need to educate road users regarding this error is suggested. The danger that wearing of white clothing may induce a false sense of security is mentioned. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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