Car Accidents and Your Reaction Time

As we saw in Braking, a car travels a long way while its driver is just reacting to a situation, and further still while the driver carries out his actions. While driving you must constantly leave the reaction time needed before you brake, steer or accelerate when confronted by a hazard.

Your reactions

Reaction times vary widely from person to person, and are invariably longer than you might think. a professional racing driver who is physically fit , gifted in high speed driving and fired with Adrenalin can react remarkably quickly, in as little as 0.2 of a second. This represents the time which elapses between the driver spotting a hazard and beginning his action, whether pressing the pedal , accelerating or moving the wheel . If you consider that it takes about one second to mention ‘one thousand’, you start to appreciate the lightning speed of a racing driver’s reactions: in one-fifth of this point he can recognize a hazard, choose the degree of danger, assess what might happen next, choose a course of action and than act thereon.

The average motorist is far slower to react: around 0.5 of a second remains good, 0.8 of a second is satisfactory and even one second isn’t regrettable . Anything longer than a second is starting to be dangerously slow. you might have a rough idea, even an inflated one, of how good your reactions are, but your own time is difficult to live unless you’ve got a correct medically-verified check. Some driving centers have simulation testers: you sit at the simulated controls of a car and need to brake when a hazard, or simply a ‘brake’ warning, flashes on the screen ahead of you. there’s also a celebration game which allows you to match your reactions with those of people just by gripping an extended piece of card which someone drops between your thumb and forefinger, but this is often only a comparative guide.

Remember that the speed of your reactions can vary considerably; they hamper if you’re tired, ill or under stress. If you’ve got to drive once you are feeling in the least below par, you want to take this into account. Your response time could be 0.5 of a second once you are fit, but once you have a heavy cold it could increase to 0.8 of a second. That extra 0.3 of a second makes a tremendous difference to the space you travel before you begin to require avoiding action for a hazard ahead.

The accompanying tables show how far you travel for three different reaction times at various speeds. Assume that your response time approaches one second and allow for this within the semi-instinctive calculations you create on the road when judging braking distance, an overtaking man oeuvre then on.

You should, of course, reduce the effect of your reaction time by reading the road and realizing when and where a hazard might occur. If you think that potential danger lies ahead, it’s always knowing take off the accelerator and hold your right foot poised over the pedal . This anticipation will save valuable tenths of a second by eliminating the delay while the brain passes a `lift off accelerator, move on to brake’ message to your right foot.

You must allow more reaction time at night because your eyes need to adjust constantly to changing levels of sunshine . The iris of the attention contracts quickly to regulate your vision when bright headlights approach, but it takes for much longer to adapt to darkness again once the lights have gone; while your eyes suits the darkness you’re driving with temporarily impaired vision. During these moments when it’s harder to ascertain what lies ahead, the time needed to recognize developments which can affect you’ll increase. Making allowance for this was discussed in Driving in the dark ; since your response time can rise to many seconds, reduce your speed accordingly.

Other people’s reactions

While you’ll take a little positive action to permit for the effect of your own response time , nothing are often done about the shortcomings of road users around you aside from always to expect slow reactions in other drivers. it’s common for someone involved in an accident to complain that the opposite driver ‘had many time to ascertain me’, and perhaps by the aggrieved driver’s standards he did. But sharp reactions in another driver can’t be taken for granted. an event where two vehicles collide because Driver One pulls away too slowly across the trail of Driver Two might be blamed on both parties; Driver Two is wrong to assume that Driver One has quick reactions and will allow room for his hesitant approach.

Before we leave the topic of reaction times, there are two popular myths which must be exploded. the primary is that the view, thankfully now rejected by the vast majority of drivers, that alcohol accelerates reactions. Drinking has precisely the other effect, for it dulls the systems summoner in order that you react more slowly to outside influences. the matter is that judgement diminishes under the influence of alcohol, in order that some people think that they will react more quickly after a couple of drinks. It can’t be stressed too strongly that you simply should never drink and drive. Remember too that drugs also can slow you down, so once you are prescription drugs ask your doctor if it’s safe to drive. you ought to also read the labels on any pills you purchase from a chemist; anti-sickness tables, for instance , can have side-effects which are disastrous once you are driving.

The second myth is that familiar claim from drivers involved in an accident: ‘I stopped dead’. Now that you simply know just how far you’ll travel while you’re reacting to a hazard, you’ll see that this statement can never be true. Besides, no cars can ever stop ‘dead’: if they could, the occupants would be killed by the deceleration forces . . .

Car Accidents and Your Reaction Time

Reaction time is the speed at which we respond to stimuli. In this case, we’re going to talk about reaction time as it relates to car accidents.

When officials are recreating an accident they use a standard reaction time of 1.5 seconds in order to “accurately” depict what happened. However, reaction time may be a bit more complex than just figuring out how briskly an individual can perceive a threat and respond though. It depends upon a spread of things from environment, behavior, and other distractions. as an example , if you’re driving down the road giving all of your attention to your driving, then your reaction could be on the brink of 1.5 seconds (the standard used reaction time), however, if you’re on your phone or distracted by the radio or outside stimuli, your response time will probably be north of 1.5 seconds.

There are a couple of components that structure reaction times. the primary is mental time interval . this is often the time that it takes an individual to understand there’s a threat they’re getting to got to react to and choose upon a response. Visual expert.com uses the instance of a driver detecting a pedestrian walking across the road directly ahead. The reaction of seeing this and therefore the decision to hit the brakes is that the mental time interval.

The second component is that the movement time. Once your mind notices the threat and decides on an idea of action, it must put your body into motion. Using the instance of the driving force and therefore the pedestrian, the movement time would be the quantity of your time it takes your brain to inform the your muscles to maneuver your foot to the brake and apply appropriate pressure to prevent in time. The Yerkes-Dodson Law says that prime arousal , like an emergency, speeds gross motor movements but impairs the fine detailed movements.

You see, an excessive amount of anxiety can cause you to freeze up and it’ll impair your response time . as an example , once you aren’t listening to the road and once you finally search , and realize a threat is incredibly close or deadly, your response time can take successful thanks to panic. It’s important to always give your full attention to the road. Not only because you’ll prevent accidents from happening by driving defensively, but also to offer yourself proper response time when something happens that’s out of your control.

We want to form sure everyone on the road is as safe as they will be. So please, give all of your attention to driving, and forget the phone, radio, or the other distractions until your vehicle is stopped.

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