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August 10, 2018 Friday 07:21:00 PM IST

Cyclists beware of vehicles turning right

Science Innovations

Researchers 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 turning.

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.


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