of University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering have
shown that more than half of the drivers of vehicles failed to make necessary
scans for pedestrians or cyclists at right turns. They came to this conclusion
after tracking the eye movements of drivers at busy Toronto intersections. They
found that the attention of drivers divided during turning revealing that many
fail to shoulder check to identify the presence of cyclists or pedestrians. It also
appeared that drivers less familiar with an area were more cautious when
This is the first study to date that used eye-tracking equipment to accurately assess where drivers were looking when turning at an intersection.
"The results were quite surprising," said the researchers. "We didn't expect this level of attention failure, especially since we selected a group that are considered to be a low crash-risk age group."
The researchers recommend changes to road infrastructure is needed to improve traffic safety. Until those infrastructure changes are made, drivers need to be more cautious, making over-the-shoulder checks, and doing it more often. The takeaway for pedestrians and cyclists: drivers aren't seeing you. Not necessarily because they're bad drivers, but that their attention is too divided. When crossing a street, your assumption should be that the car doesn't see you.