Sunday, August 06, 2006

Simulations to Hit Home the Possibility of 'Unlikely' Situations for Drivers and Pedestrians

Just a few quick posts....

I would think that a lot of car and pedestrian accidents occur because people tend to expect only ‘typical’ circumstances - whereas there’s always the possibility of more unusual circumstances they’d brush off as too unlikely, and accidents happen when they do come up for someone.

For example, a lot of people think they can stay in control if they speed. And under normal circumstances they probably can. But they aren’t in full control - there are other elements of the situation that can be unpredictable, like pedestrians and other cars.

I think you could use simulations to help people get a more realistic picture of things. A simulation that schoolkids or people going for their licence could use. In the simulation you’d act as a car driver or a pedestrian who's travelling to some destination.

For example, as a pedestrian as you're walking a long you may have to cross a road that is just off a round-about, and you see a car that has its indicator on such that it’s going to keep on going around the intersection -- and not turn off onto the road you’re crossing. So, on the basis of that indicator light, it seems safe to cross.

But in fact, it does turn off. Perhaps the person changes their mind. Or in their usual habit they’d normally turn off but today they’re going somewhere different, and they get confused.

It would be interesting to also be able to, afterwarsd, see what was going on from the other person’s perspective to, to hit home how unlikely seeming things can happen.

Another thing that’d give this impact would be if the situations you face were based upon real cases, and after you’d faced them you could read a bit about the situation.

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