Observations on Pedestrian Pre-Crash Reactions during Simulated Accidents 2013-22-0006
Pedestrian protection systems, both active and passive systems, are being introduced in the EU and Japan to comply with regulatory requirements. Their designs are specific and, in general, reflect an accident scenario of the pedestrian being struck on the side by a vehicle traveling at a maximum travel speed of 40 kph. The present study is an effort to quantify the effects of pedestrian reaction prior to an accident and identify characteristics that may help minimize or prevent the pedestrian to vehicle interaction. Accident situations were simulated with volunteers using a non-impacting methodology. Fifty one reactions from 23 volunteers of two age groups were observed. Most of the volunteers were found to run, step-back or stop in fright in a dangerous situation. Volunteer speed was an important parameter which could help in differentiating these reactions. Age related differences were also observed, both for reaction strategy and reaction times. While the majority of young subjects ran, elderly stopped as often as they run. Volunteers' posture at the time of impact was found to be highly variable irrespective of the type of reactions. The exception was when a volunteer stopped/braced in apparent fright and raised their arms to form a triangle covering their face and their head. Results of the present study may be helpful when selecting or evaluating the benefit of pedestrian safety strategies by allowing the inclusion of information about types of reaction, pedestrian speed, reaction time and age differences in the scenarios. In addition, pedestrian pre-crash postures and muscle activities could be utilized for evaluating/improving the passive safety systems and active models.