Driver's Inability to Judge Important Parameters of Leading Vehicle Movement at Night 770129
During car following in darkness the manoeuvres of the leading car must be inferred primarily from changes in the angle subdued by its taillights. The paper discusses empirical evidence on the ability of drivers to make estimates of the magnitude of relative movement of the leading car from the behavior of its taillights.
The general conclusion emerging from the data is that drivers suffer from a perceptual inability in making this type of judgment which easily may result in rear-end collisions in many typical night driving situations. Drivers of following vehicles may often be led by their estimations to close up on the leading vehicle much faster than they intended to. Counter measures to reduce the relatively high accident risk of night driving obviously have to start from this type of weakness in human perceptual ability.