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Peter Ward
18-07-2012, 10:50 AM
In the latest NRMA open road comic that arrived in my letter box, I was bemused to read driver reaction times "in an emergeny" are apparently around. 1.5 to 3 seconds (!!!)

If these reaction times are true, then getting of the blocks for a 100 metre sprint (minimum 0.1 sec), returning a tennis ball (0.2-0.3 sec)...or just even stopping for a red light (amber lights depend on speed zone - 1 to 2 seconds typically) would challenge the bulk of the population.

Begging the question, why do motoring "authorities" pedal this rubbish?

And if true... why on earth would you let people drive, who take about 10x longer to react to an event than an individual with healthy senses....

Miaplacidus
18-07-2012, 10:57 AM
Is that with or without an iPod?

RickS
18-07-2012, 11:05 AM
These are all things that we practice and are trained to do. Once you've hit a tennis ball (that you're already expecting) a few thousand times it becomes instinctive. I'd guess that the 1.5 to 3 seconds time they are quoting is for dealing with a completely new and unexpected situation and that doesn't seem so surprising to me.

Cheers,
Rick.

Poita
18-07-2012, 11:11 AM
It is actually about right. Returning a tennis ball is not an emergency situation, you are watching and calculating trajectories and are placed and prepared and swinging well before the ball is anywhere near you.

Starting a sprint is also an event thoroughly expected and planned for i.e. you know exactly what to do when the gun goes off. Those reaction times average about 0.15 of a second for Olympic sprinters.

A car emergency is completely different. It is unexpected and could be any number of situations with a number of possible responses.

So you first have to
(a) Recognise that there is an emergency event
(b) Process the situation. Is it a dog or a kid, is that car parked or moving, do I have room to swerve or will braking stop me in time, is the road surface stable on the edge, is that a tree etc.
(c) Choose a reaction from the multitude of possible responses.

I used to race and was involved in training drivers. There is a big difference in reaction time on the skid pan to an expected event to an unexpected one, and those published reaction times fit with what we use to see.

Monash Uni has a paper on it that is an interesting read and explains a lot.
http://www.monash.edu.au/miri/research/reports/other/hfr12.pdf
The data starts on page 26, but the whole thing is a worthwhile read.

Try this experiment for reaction time in a totally expected and simple event

www.brainmac.co.uk/rulerdrop.htm (http://www.brainmac.co.uk/rulerdrop.htm)

DavidTrap
18-07-2012, 11:23 AM
I can see where you're coming from Peter, but I have to agree with the earlier responders as well.

Is there anything from the aviation literature about time between a critical event being triggered in a simulator and a pilot assessing the situation and initiating a response?

I know of some research done on cardiopulmonary bypass machines and they had a fancy camera that tracked where you were looking - the variations in how people looked at all of their monitors before/while responding to a situation were very interesting.

DT

Poita
18-07-2012, 11:43 AM
There is a ton of data on pilot response time to everything from visual or instrument based information, to air traffic controller response results.

Interesting are the ones where they have to process an urgent but complex response
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20100033613_2010036916.pdf

Sorry, the above is a different thing, but is a good read.

The Monash report in my previous post pretty much answers response time questions in a variety of situations, and it fits well with the NRMA article.

Sarge
18-07-2012, 12:33 PM
Peter,

I work in Road Safety and have done so for near on 40 years. It is true, driver reaction times vary from 1.5 sec to 3 secs. It is from the time the eye sees, to the brain analysing and the foot reacting. F1 drivers can get this down to less that 0.5 sec, but they are the exception. Drag car drivers can get it down to 0.1, but that is with anticipation of a start.
Road safety has been promoting the 2 sec drop back rule for a long time. Simply, as the car in front you passes an object there should be a 2 sec gap till you pass the same object - regardless of speed.
We all need to drive safely on our roads.

Clear skies

Rod
:D:D

Peter Ward
18-07-2012, 12:52 PM
It's interesting to note in the Monash paper, cited earlier, Sivak et.al determined reaction times in the order of *0.5 to 0.7 seconds*.... a figure I'd say was reasonable for someone actually paying attention to the road ahead.

.... many human activities would be impossible or extremely hazardous if you didn't have a level of anticipation to events about to unfold.

Improving road safety based on the lowest common denominator (eg 3 second reaction times) I'd argue is flawed.

I rather like the German model...a vastly higher standard of driver training and testing to ensure license holders are way more competent than our system of being trained by pottering around with Mum or Dad at 50km/hr.
Do a hill-start, reverse park and you're licensed...

Peter Ward
18-07-2012, 01:06 PM
Ahh... can I respectfully suggest "you are watching and calculating trajectories and are placed and prepared" is exactly how you should be driving a vehicle?

FlashDrive
18-07-2012, 01:12 PM
Good one :lol: I'll pay that ..! :rofl: and I'd like some ' fries ' with that to ...:D

Poita
18-07-2012, 01:16 PM
It is possible that you are missing the point here a bit.

I agree that is how people drive when concentrating, you know the speed and weighting of the vehicle, you anticipate the upcoming corner etc. but an emergency situation is completely different and reaction times are much longer, even with professional drivers on a test track.

Even when well prepared and concentrating, an emergency situation is very different to an expected scenario, and you can't pre-empt every possibility.

We tested and trained rally drivers and road circuit drivers, and for a predictable situation (light change, expected turn etc.) then the reaction time is often less than a second.
For *emergency* situations, i.e. unpredicted events, then the reaction time is around 1.5 to 3s or longer. There is so many more variables both on the input and output side, plus the 'shock' factor of an unexpected event, i.e. your brain has to deal with the unexpected and categorise and recognise it first, it takes up some CPU cycles, as does deciding the course of action and then getting the signals to the muscles in question.

It isn't a straightforward reaction chain in an emergency, unless it is one you have been in many times and can recognise and process it instantly, and were somewhat expecting it to happen.

Poita
18-07-2012, 01:19 PM
Sure, better driver training is a good thing, (Germany still had 4,500 road fatalities in 2008 though) but designing road systems and safety around the best case scenarios assuming that all drivers will have the best reaction times possible is idealistic and would lead to a serious increase in accidents.
Even the best, most switched on drivers can have a moment of less than pure concentration, you want to have some pretty solid leeway built in when it is lives on the line.

The Sivak paper I read shows 72% of test subjects taking under 3s to react to a brake light of the car in front of them, which again fits the NRMA data.

AstralTraveller
18-07-2012, 01:34 PM
I notice when watching cricket they will show the time between the ball hitting the bat and the fielder taking that screaming catch at slip or the time between the ball release by the bowler and the batsman playing a shot, and I notice the time is consistently close to 0.6s. It seems an elite athlete, fully focussed can react to a more-or-less predictable event in that time. I also notice that they can't maintain such focus throughout a 6 hour day. Part of the skill of a batsman or fielder is to relax between deliveries. In fact in 6 hours they are probably only at full concentration for 1-1.5hrs. A driver doesn't have that luxury.

I also remember from my younger, somewhat lead-footed days that driving a road at (say) 100km/h might have been easy but going 110 took a lot more concentration (especially in an FC holden :driving: ) and I became tired sooner. So even a conscientious driver needs to understand that they will not be operating at max effort all the time they are on the road. As for the 'I couldn't give a rats' crowd, they are probably never above 50% efficiency.

I'm very conscious of leaving enough braking distance (30 years in a troopie will do that to you) and am constantly horrified by how little room most people leave themselves. I've tried timing how far I am behind the car in front (count 'and 1 and 2') and 2 seconds is further than you think and much further than most drivers ever leave themselves. My theory is that if I leave enough room I can afford to relax a bit, look at the scenery a bit be safer and arrive in better condition.

Terry B
18-07-2012, 01:36 PM
Peter
How long can you maintain a high level of anticipation for whilst driving?
I'm sure I can do it for an hour or so but how about on a 6 hour drive. Even with regular stops it is not easy to maintain the high level of responsiveness needed to react to an emergency within 0.7sec

ZeroID
18-07-2012, 01:38 PM
Hmmm, interesting... Rally driving is all about reaction to unexpected driving obstacles and situations. Yes, the Co calls the next corner, known hazard, etc but very often it is the unexpected that is the decider. Deer, cow on road, dislodged rock from previous car, stopped competitor, new mud, slippery surface. I daresay Seb Loeb (and a lot of other top drivers) would be in big trouble if their reaction time to the unexpected at well over 100+ kph was 1.5 to 3 seconds.
My information said .5 to .7 for mental reaction to action was the norm. I have driven Rally cars and track events.

I confess I do drive much more 'actively' than most road users and am more aware than most as to road conditions and situations. Both our cars are slightly civilised rally cars, VR4s with turbos, 4WD, AYC, ceramic brakes and over 300 hp. I do take advantage of the capabilities sometimes.

Poita
18-07-2012, 01:55 PM
Even in Rally drivers testing has shown the average response to be 1.5s or so, and that is with you basically expecting something to pop up in front of you the whole time.

The 0.5 to 0.7 seconds is really a totally best case scenario, the travel time for the nerve response alone from brain to foot in a 180cm male eats up a reasonable portion of that.

0.5s response times can be readily achieved, but not maintained, even during a controlled event like a race.

On the open road on a long trip with all of the other things on your mind, an average of 1.5 - 3.0s is a pretty reasonable expectation.

Peter Ward
18-07-2012, 02:10 PM
The Monash paper states Sivak found:

"The distance separating the lead and experimental vehicles had a highly significant effect on the braking reactions in the Sivak et al (1981b) study. For the short following distance, the mean reaction times for the various configurations ranged from 550 ms to 700 ms, and for the long following distance condition, the mean values lay between 670 ms to 830 ms"

Problem with a lot of this stuff is, lies and statistics. Sure the Germans have a significant number of road deaths, but the rate per capita is significantly lower than Oz. The autobahn rate is even lower still... guess they are *really* paying attention at 200 klicks.

Octane
18-07-2012, 02:23 PM
All those reaction times can go out the window if you aren't well-rested, too.

I saw a documentary on sleep deprivation. They put a guy who hadn't slept for 2 days in a car and tested his reaction skills. He failed pretty much every single one. One of the tests/obstacles was was throwing a doll (about the size of a five year old child) onto the course. Someone who was alert was able to brake and swerve and miss the doll. The drivers who had no sleep for 1 or 2 days hit the doll before reacting, or didn't even know they hit the doll and didn't react at all.

H

18-07-2012, 02:23 PM
One of my pet subjects. Safe Driving.

I used to cycle 5 klms each way to school. I saw many accidents involving cyclists and cars. I was involved in a minor one.

As I saw it, motorists seemed to be blind for cyclists. When I was hit, the women apologetically said, "I just didn't see you until I hit you."

How could she not have seen me? I was right in front of her. She had not waited for the intersection to clear. I did not believe what I saw. She stopped and then proceeded to go through the intersection. Hit the brakes just before she careered into me.

I believe she had seen me but it did not register. She only had partial attention to her driving. Only looking for cars to clear. This is how many people drive. Partial attention and then react so slowly when quick responses are required.

Another story: I was about to enter a main road (I was driving a car).
I noticed a young waman tailgating. It was a few minutes before I joined the flow of traffic. Eventually I came upon the woman's car I saw earlier. She had rear-ended the car in front of her.

I stopped to help. The young lady was abusing the driver in front of her. "He should not stop so fast. Drivers behind you need time to stop."

She further claimed that he was in the wrong and that he is responsible for the damage to her car. (WOW. This girl needs to be licence retested)

The driver in the front car stated that he slowed normally indicating a right turn and stopped waiting for clearance. Witnesses confirmed that.
Again, inattention and driving beyond her means. Tailgating and slow to react.

Even paying the due attention to driving, at 60K/H you travel 12M in 0.7 secs. That is before you even start to slow down.
With out due care, 2 secs puts the car through the intersection, 35M:eyepop:

Idealy I would have liked to see all young drivers do one year on bicycles before being awarded a full licence. It makes you more aware of safety and promotes a defensive attitude. Of-course that is not practicable in the real world.

However I rarely have a close call. The only accidents I have been involved in in the last 20 years have happened while I was stationary at intersections or as a passenger. Where I had no control.

I can quite believe that 2 -3 secs reaction time to be common place. It therefore means we adopt the attitude that all other drivers are half asleep at the wheel and drive accordingly.:)

Cheers

Peter Ward
18-07-2012, 02:29 PM
Don't know. I drive very defensively...keeping away from traffic clusters, and for example, never assume just because a light is green, someone isn't trying to T-bone me.

I always try to be *very* predictable, e.g. indicate before I brake. Make sure my cars are very well maintained.

I suspect this is a legacy from being a motorcycle rider in my youth. Don't quite know what my reaction times are, but I do "create time" by keeping safe gap & look far beyond the car infront/behind etc.
Works for me....well almost...got rear-ended about 8 years ago..P-plater not conversant with aquaplaning.

Poita
18-07-2012, 02:40 PM
The reaction times in that paper are from a controlled experiment and the time taken to brake when seeing the brake light come on in the car in front.

Those reaction times are consistant with other studies for such a simple and non-stressful situation, and as such would be an absolute best case scenario in good driving conditions and a focused driver.

Not really the same as an emergency situation on the open road.

RickS
18-07-2012, 03:25 PM
Driving BMWs and Mercedes instead of Commodores would probably explain this difference :lol:

Seriously, I don't think you can directly compare per capita death rates without considering average number of kilometres traveled, road quality, etc.

Colin_Fraser
18-07-2012, 03:31 PM
If I am driving down the road and a child walks out from behind a parked car, I (and probably no-one else either) would take 3 seconds to apply the brakes and take evasive action.
What they are saying in is absolute rubbish.
Just wait, soon they will be after government funding to run driver training courses.

Peter Ward
18-07-2012, 03:54 PM
That's a worry. You've only got two seconds at many traffic lights before they go red.

..driver training?

Agreed, seems my desire for attentive & focused drivers is probably a vain hope...sigh...instead we have lax driver training, licensing and lame penalties for serious offences (eg drink-driving casuing injury: the Germans accept no excuses & send you to gaol )

Peter Ward
18-07-2012, 04:05 PM
Sorry, deserves more than a glib response.

I expect kids/cats/dogs to emerge from parked cars...and actively look for them in suburban streets.

Countless times I've already had my foot hovering over the brake pedal long before I pass parked traffic. 3 seconds??

Count it out: One thousand, Two thousand, Three throusand. I'd probably hand in my license if that was my routine reaction time.

Peter Ward
18-07-2012, 04:18 PM
Sorry, missed this. Oddly enough, there are very few events that require an instant (pilot) response....and those that do are well drilled/trained for.

Failures prior to V1 are acted upon almost instantly.....if you took three seconds you'd almost certainly have left the runway and would require re-training.

Colin_Fraser
18-07-2012, 04:53 PM
Ideally I'd like to see all lycra wearing cyclists trained and licenced before going on the roads.
Then they would be subject to the same road rules as motorists, which at present, they are clearly not.
I have been either driving a car or riding motorcycles for over 40 years. Never crashed into anything and never been booked. That would not happen if my response time was as NMRA suggests.

mithrandir
18-07-2012, 05:20 PM
On any road around Sydney, a two second gap is enough for two or three cars to cut in in front of you. Traffic lights make the road an ABS test track. SWMBO saw three cars cut in on a semi the other day. He had left himself space to stop for the lights and had to change lanes (fortunately there was a gap) to avoid the third one.

AstralTraveller
18-07-2012, 05:40 PM
I know all about being cut in on. With the old troopie we had a 2 tonne vehicle carrying > 1 tonne and drums all round. It stopped like a hippo on rollerskates. That's no drama in that cars natural environment - out bush. But in the city it is very different. I allowed myself plenty of braking space but constantly had motorists in buzz-bombs cutting in front of me. (Couldn't they see the size of that bull-bar?) Of course if they cut in and stopped and so wound up with me in their back seat it would have been all my fault. :shrug: I was talking to the bloke who delivers gas cylinders here about this and his opinion is that if he backed off every time someone cut into his braking space he would go backwards. He drives a 4 axle truck with a dog trailer and people don't understand to give him room. I'd say let Darwinian selection cull the population but of course it's his license and his conscience.

Terry B
18-07-2012, 06:44 PM
Interesting the different take on this. I drive mostly in the country and the unexpected events that I thought about was Roos or other animals suddenly appearing I front of the car. A child is easier. You always need to stop. A roo vs a bunny suddenly appearing has a different response and a decision need to be made in that 1 sec. It does take time to decide to hit the breaks and risk skidding etc vs hitting the breaks and not getting a damaged front to the car from a roo.

sheeny
18-07-2012, 07:19 PM
100% agree!

Way back when I was a teenager involved with Wyong District Motorcycle Club... the club elders came up with the 12 year apprenticeship. From the combined experience of most of the members of the club (200+ at the time), it seems that you needed to ride a bike on the road for about 12 years before your rate of accidents/incidents dropped significantly i.e. that's how long it took to learn to ride safely for yourself and every other nong on the road. And you can't do that without being attentive, learning to read hazards and plan for and expect "the unexpected".

I've recently got a helmet mounted video camera, and it's very interesting to notice the slight head movements that I subconsciously do when scanning for hazards when riding down a busy street.

With teenagers currently learning to drive, I have also noticed how poor their perception of hazards is when they start. I do my best to teach them to read the hazards as I do, and so far they've progressed well (1 to go), but I have been a passenger with a lot of people who can easily scare the willies out of me... though lack of hazard perception and (lack of) competence. I'm all for the German or Finnish method of licensing if it makes more competent drivers.

After 20 something years of road crash rescue, I feel confident to say the road is no place be complacent. Too many people are.

Al.

Poita
18-07-2012, 07:35 PM
Well, read the actual studies and you can see the reaction times to various events, they are well researched and the research is very sound.
It is easy to say something is rubbish without actually investigating it.
(They also say 1.5 - 3s in 'an emergency', not "3s when a child runs out")

And, yes some will take 3s, some people will not brake at all, the shock and weight of the decision can cause otherwise rational people to freeze-up.

That freeze-up period can be anywhere from half a second to way too late.

It also depends on what else is happening, and how much other stimuli is happening. If you are already tracking other inputs the time gets longer. There are linear correlations between the complexity of the situation and of the possible outcomes.

A child appearing will have *most* people just stomp the brakes and pretty quickly too, on an empty road it is easy to process and the response is pretty clear, but a very few will take the full 3 seconds or longer due to the shock. Sometimes the brain refuses to believe what it sees, especially when the consequences are profound.

But on a busy road cluttered with billboards, flashing signs and with the driver perhaps looking to overtake, checking his mirror because of a tailgating driver, or worried about that motorbike creeping up the other side of him, or all of the above and the reaction time stretches out as the brain has to register the new thing that has appeared in the visual field in amongst all the other clutter, decide that it is a child an not something else and then decide wether braking will be enough to stop, wether swerving would cause more carnage etc. etc.

Add in tiredness or a recent fight with their spouse or the radio etc. and it pushes out more.
It would be great if all of us were always on our game, and always at our best and never let our concentration fail, but the world doesn't work that way.

I saw a professional motor-writer who is an astoundingly good driver crash a very (and I mean very) expensive car that was on loan for review as they just froze when a car appeared on the one lane road unexpectedly.

Peter Ward
18-07-2012, 08:26 PM
There in lies a major problem. Why do we license drivers with absolutely no training or testing in siutations that may lead to the above??

A simple PC simulation (read: inexpensive to implement) at the licensing stage to weed out those who have not been trained or simply can't respond
in a timely/adequate manner to an emergency might not be a bad idea.

18-07-2012, 08:57 PM
I do academic research in human factors (as I suspect some of the other posters here do too) - the research on reaction times is very, very extensive and well conducted.

Simply dismissing it out of hand would be confirmation bias (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias).

Same reason why people freak out over virtually every minor commercial aviation incident, yet happily hop into their cars, drive distracted, etc :screwy:

This is already in practice, for example:

http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Licensing/Getting-a-licence/Licence-tests/Hazard-perception-test.aspx

http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/licensing/20625.asp

Peter Ward
18-07-2012, 09:16 PM
Dave, sorry, to be blunt I'd suggest the hazard perception test is only slightly better than taking the candidate's pulse to ensure they are still alive....

Last time I drove a car/ rode a bike, "clicking a mouse" was not a useful motor-memory skill.

While I wouldn't expect the multi-million dollar flight-sims I get given buggery in every few months to keep employed, a fixed-base vehicle simulator with a wide screen display, steering wheel, clutch, brake and some dynamic scenarios would be my starting point for someone wanting to take a tonne or so of metal down a public road.

RobF
18-07-2012, 09:28 PM
Ok, I'm being a nerd, but there's a lot of physics and statistics in driving down a suburban street. I try to assume everyone else NEEDS that 2-3 sec reaction time, figuring that improves my chances of other drivers noticing me before it's too late. Might only give me an extra 10 or 20% assurance, but that extra safety margin just might avoid the odd accident or near miss. Agree totally Marty you quickly learn to think this way when you have to survive on the road on a bicycle before you learn to drive :thumbsup:

The other problem (I've learned the hard way whilst in the passenger seat during many long distance driving trips at night) is even when the driver REACTS, they don't always take the best evasive action (e.g. SLAMMING on the brakes as they swerve around a tyre or roo in the middle of the road on a pitch dark night :eyepop:). Pretty hard to talk someone out of doing the wrong then when it happens in slow motion during the eternal 1-3 secs ;). I suspect our Aussie driver training could do with a bit more coaching in how to react to emergencies. If you're lucky, your Mum and Dad will work on this aspect, but probably many don't have the skills/experience/patience.

18-07-2012, 10:00 PM
No need to apologise. I was merely pointing out that the approach you advocated is currently in use:

As for whether or not a hazard perception test is actually effective in practice... I quote from a UK Department of Transport study (http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100513151012/http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/research/rsrr/theme2/cohort2/cohrtiimainreport.pdf):

Peter Ward
18-07-2012, 10:10 PM
Well no, it's not. Clicking on a flash-enabled video is not the same as using motion controls (ie steering wheel, brake etc.) in a fluid visual simulation.

Clearly we don't have a standard deviation here. I'd say 3-4% is noise. ;)

18-07-2012, 10:56 PM
I evidently misunderstood what you wrote!

Yep, I agree that being able to screen drivers in an immersive simulator would be a great idea.

More stringent training and testing procedures (ala German driving tests) would be excellent especially considering that car crashes are one of the biggest (if not the biggest) causes of non-disease related deaths in Australia.

rat156
18-07-2012, 11:20 PM
Is, perhaps, the main problem that driving a modern car is too easy? Even if you stuff up, there's a fair chance the electronics will save you. I remember when learning to drive meant learning to control a car, with co-ordination required between hands and feet to do even mundane things as changing gears. You also had to watch the road (no autopilot watching out for the traffic in front), your mirrors (no blind-spot detectors), your speed (no cruise control), you had to be able to threshold brake (no ABS), control the throttle (no traction control), make sensible adjustments to the steering (no ESC), be able to operate the switch that turns on (or off) your headlights and windscreen wipers, all whilst tuning the radio (with a knob thing), having a fag and chatting to your mate in the passenger seat. Perhaps that's why the muppets didn't get a licence, it was too hard.

Now, all these things save lives, but at what cost? The modern "appliance" that is running around on the road these days is a fantastic piece of engineering that takes very little skill to sit in the driver's seat and "drive". I'm not sure how many people can be said to be in control of the motor vehicle though? The Top Gear boys in the UK did had a bit of a rant about the operation of a mobile phone whilst driving (or some such thing), with the authorities saying that driving was a complex task that commanded most of the driver's attention. Of course the Top Gear boys (top class researchers they are!) said that was Bollocks and proceeded to make some claims about driving their test track whilst sewing a button on his shirt (Clarkson), in a sleeping bag (May) and whilst "pleasuring himself" (Hammond), thankfully they only showed the first two on TV. What was worrying was that they could do it!

My drive to work on the Westgate Freeway every morning sees feats of incredulously stupid driving pretty much every day. How can you have a nose to tail crash when the traffic is barely moving? Yet it happens, probably daily. These people don't deserve a licence, it should be taken from them and never given back. Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right. The laws are there to punish you for transgressions, but unless you do something very bad they only punish you financially, yes, eventually you may lose your licence for repeated minor infringements, but if the authorities were really serious about road safety then the "points" punishments would be far more severe. Even then, you serve you time and get your licence back with a clean slate. Many just drive unlicensed for a few months.

So, as this post is getting quite long now, better driving education, harder tests, harsher points penalties and a ban on automatic cars will fix the problem, or at least reduce the road clutter. OK the ban on automatics might be a bit of a step too far, but think about it, do you really want to be on the road with someone who hasn't got the co-ordination or skill to change gears manually without losing control of their vehicle?

<Nomex on>

Cheers
Stuart

alocky
18-07-2012, 11:32 PM
One thing I don't understand is why a reverse park is part of the driving test, but a brake and evade isn't? Even when I went for my bike license years ago, you had to demonstrate that you could pull the bike up in 10m from a dropped arm signal at 60km - not hard.
As for the earlier comments about race drivers - I used to rally at club level and raced superbikes after that, so I consider myself to have an awareness, but not necessarily mastery of the subject. Fast reflexes on the track can be your worst enemy. You've got to think quick, but if you do anything sudden to the controls at racing speeds, there's a good chance you'll experience wieghtlessness... briefly. I've had fellow competitors come spearing back onto the track after experimenting with alternative traction methods, others have engine failure and pull off line at 200+ while I was overtaking them on the outside. If my reflexes were truly ~3 seconds I'd have been dead several times. However, several of my friends are now dead, and a few more are permanently disabled - they were every bit as good as I was, but not as lucky I suppose. Throw in the radio, kids, phone, GPS and all the distractions we fill our cars with on public roads and I suspect the 3 seconds is a realistic number.
Peter - given what you drive, and your profession, I'm sorry to say you are very unlikely to represent anything remotely like a normal driver. If only you were.
cheers,
Andrew.

Peter Ward
18-07-2012, 11:36 PM
:lol: Well...yes, I get the gist...Wheaties boxes are not a good way to dispense a driver's license.

But you have made some interesting points.

If I dent the company's (aeroplane) hardware..even a little bit...a ton of woe and serious ramifications will result.

Yet, people that crash into stuff with motor vehicles in Oz don't seem to suffer much more than insurance premium increase.

Get caught exceeding the speed limit, (even in the middle of no-where) but have a history of not crashing into anything, period, and you still pay some serious fines and face loss of license etc.

I find that bizzare.

rat156
18-07-2012, 11:55 PM
Which brings me onto another point, something that's been concerning me for a while now. Where does MVAs come in the list of top causes of death in Australia? You'd think top 20, right? Nope, according to the ABS (that's Aus Bureau of Stats) in 2010 you were more likely to die from an accidental fall (18) or Flu & Pneumonia (14) than MVA (not listed in the top 20). And how much public money is spent on road "safety" versus say Cancer research? My best figures from the internet (great source of statistics!) is about \$300 Million annually on Cancer research Australia wide (from Government sources), versus (15,000,000 motor vehicles x approx \$350 TAC charge) \$5.25 Billion on road accidents, yet 43,000 Australians die from cancer each year compared to about 1,500 from car crashes. This doesn't take into account the enormous amounts spent by car companies on research an engineering to make the cars safer in the first place.

Do we have our priorities right?

Cheers
Stuart

Stardrifter_WA
19-07-2012, 12:13 AM
Very sorry, but I have to strongly disagree with you here.

In 1999, I spent six weeks in RoyaI Perth Hospital in quite a critical condition and then over six months in Shenton Park Rehabilitation Hospital and a further 13 years recovering from an MVA. I can tell you, I saw some nasty things and the amount of effort put in by medical staff was truly amazing and I imagine quite expensive too. During this time, I had over a 1000 X Rays, CT Scans and MRI's (it is a wonder I don't glow in the dark), let alone all the op's and other rehabilitation. So I am quite thankful that this was covered by Compulsory Third Party Insurance. The cost of my recovery, and I am still recovering, was truly enormous.

In the more than six months I was there I saw a lot of people who were involved in MVA's come and go, an awful lot, in fact!

MVA's may not be in the top twenty of death rates, but I would hate to think where MVA's came on the human devastation rates.

So, having felt and seen the human destruction caused by MVA's, I think the priorities are about right in wanting to make cars safer.

If you saw this destruction first hand, I think you comments would have been a bit different.

And no, the accident wasn't my fault, but I paid a huge penalty; psychologically, physically and financially.

Regards Peter

rat156
19-07-2012, 07:38 AM
Sorry Peter, but from this you claim that there's no human devastation in the physical/mental/financial burden of dealing with cancer? Whilst you were in hospital, did you visit the oncology ward? You would have seen an order of magnitude more people going through, some recovering from the various treatments, many just trying to lengthen their life by a few years, maybe months. Do you know of the physical pain felt by many in the final stages of cancer?

On average (according to the RACV) there are 30,000 Australians seriously injured in MVAs in Australia each year. This doesn't even approach those KILLED by cancer each year, if you add in those who have faced the disease and survived, this would double those figures. Unfortunately, this means the survival rate is still only running at 50% for most cancers, significantly lower than that for serious MVAs.

Personal experience is, in this case, a source of bias. I, as well as many of the people here have experienced both sides of this fence, believe me when I tell you that if you were faced with a choice of the two, pick the MVA.

As for the financial cost of an MVA versus cancer, yes, you were lucky that everything was covered by CTP insurance. Flip the coin over and ask who pays for the cancer treatment? Many patients can not afford new treatments, some of the cost is borne by Medicare, but many cancer patients are financially ruined by the treatment costs.

I suppose, what I'm really saying is that, even without the financial figures, just the sheer publicity and amount of advertising that road trauma receives is disproportionate with the impact on society versus a disease such as cancer. It's just that people respond to money better than they respond to logic:shrug:

Cheers
Stuart

Stardrifter_WA
19-07-2012, 01:46 PM
Fair point Stuart.

Cancer is an insidious disease, as there are many other insidious diseases. I have had five members of my family die from cancer, four have died in the last three years, with my nephew also suffering prostrate cancer (terminal). My sister died three months ago from cancer. So, the inference that I don't understand this issue is incorrect. However, the care and treatment they got was truly wonderful and frankly, cannot be faulted.

I have also lost many friends to road trauma over the years. So yes, I will concede that there is bias in this regard. I suffer chronic pain 24/7 and mostly take no drugs for it (as I don't want to end up a drug addict, as so many do), so I do know suffering, only too damn well. I sure wish I didn't, but having said that, I am truly thankful to be alive (I very nearly wasn't) to feel the pain. As for picking an MVA over cancer, it isn't that simple. There are many times when I have wished I'd died, so great was the pain. :mad2: This isn't meant to understate your pain Stuart, just to say that suffering isn't exclusive to insidious diseases.

We cannot cure all the ills of this world. However, my point is that if the amount of R&D hadn't been done to prevent MVA injury, then I suggest the number of 30,000 injuries per year would be considerably higher, by several magnitudes.

Colin_Fraser
19-07-2012, 03:37 PM
I have no faith at all in these so-called scientific surveys or tests because scientific tests can be engineered to pre-determine the results.

Using a test circuit with flags falling to signal an emergency is not the same as driving in the suburbs.
The tests you see on television usually is on a test track in controlled conditions, with one vehicle driving in one direction.
In suburbia cars pull out from the kerb and cut in front from a side street or head towards you on the wrong side of the road.
Not to mention kids, dogs and cats and bicycle riders appearing from nowhere.

Who did they test?
The consequence of a 70 year old's reaction time of 3 seconds would be totally different from the same reaction time for a 20 year old.
A 70 year old would more than likely drive under the speed limit whereas a 20 year old will be more likely drive over the speed limit.

You can send drivers to professional instructors till the cows come home but it will never stop them from breaking the road rules.

You just cannot teach a young driver how to take their time and be patient. Only hope they listen and live to become old drivers.

mithrandir
19-07-2012, 04:06 PM
Peter, I don't want to denigrate your experience. I've spent weeks in hospital too after MVAs.

Of all the people I have known who have died in my nearly 60 years where I know the cause, three were MVAs. Another was a heart attack in his 30s.

The other twenty were all cancer or cancer related, including my father, sister, sister-in-law, and SWMBO's father and mother. We have a niece whose prognosis is not good.

The cancers were far and away the worst, both for the sufferer and everyone who knew them.

Stardrifter_WA
19-07-2012, 06:58 PM
Fair enough. I have seen a lot of pain and suffering too, in my six decades on this rock, I do understand that and it isn't my intention to understate that or suggest that cancer sufferers suffer less, as I know they do not. It isn't a contest as to who suffers the most. On this point, I think any suffering is awful. However, that wasn't really my point, which was related to the incidence of MVA injuries and their decline through safety innovation. If only they could do the same for insidious diseases, but it isn't as simple as adding air bags to vehicles, for example, which is very unfortunate. I wouldn't wish any amount of suffering on anyone.

AstralTraveller
20-07-2012, 02:36 PM
Colin,

A lot of what you said I agree with but I take exception to this sort of comment. Although you only suggest the hypothetical possibility of results being rigged the fact that you have no faith in any scientific result suggests you think rigging results is routine or common. As someone who works bl**dy hard to ensure the scientific results I report are an as accurate as possible representation of the real world I take exception to such assertions. I'm in an academic unit where there are 60-80 people trying their best to report on reality and there are hundreds in the faculty so engaged. In the past 20 years I've become aware of 1 case of fraud (not at this Uni) and I can assure you that person's name is mud and their career stopped the moment their behaviour became known. Scientists are prone to all the faults and failing of the general population and some are dishonest, but to imply that falsification of results is common is an outrage.

[Sorry must fly, I have a meeting about why our Zn analyses are not working.]

Colin_Fraser
20-07-2012, 03:38 PM
David

Thats exactly why I have my opinion. You have analysed my statement and came to the incorrect conclusion that I think "rigging results is routine or common".
You further deduce that I "imply that falsification of results is common"

Your very own statementcompletely backs up what I said "CAN BE"
You have read a simple statement, read into something that was not there and came to conclusions about me that are dead wrong.
So if you take exception "to this sort of comment" and think my comments are "an outrage", thats your problem, not mine.

Pity you never applied the same effort here

Stardrifter_WA
20-07-2012, 07:40 PM
That's the problem with these types of forums. Sometimes things come across in ways not intended. You don't have the luxury of personal nuances to gauge what people are trying to communicate. Just words do not necessarily convey the correct meaning or intent, as there is no feedback to gauge understanding. I am not an innocent in this regard either. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and if someone is offended easily or can't take criticism for their opinions, then they shouldn't be on here, or, at least, not make any comments. Having said that, I do love IIS and some of the exchanges, at least, until the moderator kills them. :D Cheers Peter

rat156
20-07-2012, 11:42 PM
Hmm...

People all around the world seem to have been communicating by the written word for a long time, when was written language invented?

Perhaps you will detect a nuance of sarcasm in the above words, strangely enough you would be right.

Maybe people should THINK about what they write, rather than just capture a stream of conciousness?

Maybe they should read their post back before hitting the "submit reply" button?

It is a cop out to claim, "Oh, I didn't mean THAT!" after you have written something that someone else finds offensive.

This, in a round about sort of way, brings us back to Peter's posts. Let me explain...

Peter (rightly in my opinion) pointed out that a three second delay between a dangerous situation and a reaction is simply way too long and that if that is your reaction time you shouldn't be driving a motor vehicle. Some claims and counter claims were made by various people about the difference between an expected event reaction time and an unexpected event. To which Peter, and others, replied that whilst driving a car many people (I may have called them Muppets at once stage, I think that this leaves little doubt as to my opinion of their driving "skills") simply don't seem to concentrate enough on the task at hand. Maybe they don't care about driving, in the same way they don't care about what they write in the forum?

This is pretty much symptomatic of society these days (I really sound like an old fart now), no one takes responsibility for their actions. You only have to have a look at some of the quite ridiculous OH&S regulations to see that this attitude is not only tolerated, it is enshrined in Law.

OK, I may be drawing a long bow with this one, but at least I made an attempt to bring the thread back on topic.

<triple layer nomex on>

Cheers
Stuart

sheeny
21-07-2012, 07:17 AM
I'm with you Stuart.

(Read twice... Yup... That's what I meant to say...:D)

Al.

AndrewJ
21-07-2012, 08:30 AM
Did anyone see the news last night where a woman on a scooter ran a red light into the path of a truck ( that wasnt going that fast ), then just watched it hit her.
Perfect example of complete inattention, followed by how situation affects reaction time. eg Rabbit in spotlight.
How many drivers out there have never been put into a "real" stress situation to judge their abilities or even to show them the true effects of inattention.
Perhaps we should add a new final part to the driving test called
"crash into stationary object at 40kph"
again just so they understand what really happens.

Andrew

jenchris
21-07-2012, 08:59 AM
Ah - how many things are people involved in that involve traveling at 100k in a steel box on wheels or maybe just wheels?

I think my driving reactions must be above average (touch wood) as I've been driving mostly at or just above the speed limit for 43 years and not hit anything yet. Mostly in manual cars or utes.

I certainly hope it takes less than 1.5 seconds to react.
@ 3 seconds, I think I'd be way past the initial problem area with it stuck on my bonnet.
I own a Nissan Navarra 4x4 that is now 26 years old I've had it for 22 of those years. It hasn't got a dink on it, and whilst it's a slowish underpowered lump, the brakes are woeful compared to modern vehicles - yet I still don't run into anything - strange that.

I DO concentrate on my driving ALL the time - you have to if you're driving a bit quicker than average - maybe that is what has kept me safe.
I hasten to add that I do have a modern car that I use normally.