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Understanding driver assumptions

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by smileedude, Sep 6, 2015.

  1. When you watch this gif, your first thought would be "how on earth did they not see a firetruck?". Which usually brings the response "they didn't even look".

    That's the extent most people will analyse it. However "why didn't they look?" Is a much more important question and will help your riding. "Too lazy" is the simple response but it's a bit of a bullshit answer which in no way helps you recognise when someone might pull out on you.

    The driver made an assumption. They assumed their path to the left was empty and went. They believed their assumption to be true otherwise they wouldn't have gone. They failed to recognise the difference between an assumption and a certainty.

    So how did the driver come to this conclusion? To turn they needed both lanes free. The lane the truck is in is largely empty. The car driver observed no vehicles when they first arrived and assumed this to remain the case while they watched to the right.

    This is the cause of most accidents. Somebody assumes something that is not the case. Recognising potential hazzards comes down to understanding what assumptions people make and why.

    This brings about some rather absurd sounding logic, but riding in moderate traffic is much safer than riding in light traffic. In the above posted gif if there was a stream of traffic in front of the truck, the car driver wouldn't have pulled out.

    So be especially aware when you see a vehicle when it's quiet or there is nobody driving in your directions. The old adage goes, ride like you are invisible. There are situations where no matter how visible you are, like being a firetruck with sirens on, wont help you be seen. There is no amount of lane movement that will make you more visible. To deal with the situation in the gif if you were on a bike you would want to pass through the hazzard zone at a point when the driver would not be interested in moving. So slow down, or even speed up so you pass the hazzard when the cars coming the other direction are blocking their turn potential.
    • Informative Informative x 7
    • Like Like x 4
    • Agree Agree x 2
  2. Also appears that Sun positioning may have been a factor. It was either sunrise or sunset, and likely the driver did not see the truck at all. Nonetheless, scary, imagine a cyclist in this situation. No chance unless you slow down and anticipate what would happen.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  3. Car Driver be like: That maniac was speeding, splitting dangerously and drove straight into me...bloody sports trucks!

    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. Gutted. She even argues the point. If it was a rider, yeah he would definitely be labelled as speeding and likely the cop would side with that biatch, because these cager pricks know only two things associated with riders. We are all either speeding or it is a SMYDSY case. The point for new riders, you are always at fault because you should always anticipate stupidity from others and uou let your guard down. If there is an accident and you are on two wheels, it does not matter if the cager is at fault. You are off to ER mate, if lucky perhaps just broken bone or a fracture as the very least. Educational clip, nicolai, hope new riders notice it. Cheers
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. "you were speeding"


    BTW, if you were on a bike you'd be charged for not wearing an approved helmet.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. I dont think a gps speed recording is evidence in any jurisdiction. Definitely not in Oz.

    Why did the car not change lanes when they saw the car waiting to come out of McDonald's. That would have reduced the risk of or even prevented that collision.
  7. How does the author (not sure if it's you it taken from somewhere else smilie ) make these assumptions? Is it from a post accident report? If not, there could be many other reasons, maybe the driver was drunk?

    I don't disagree with the write up in general terms but feel it is assuming a lot about the driver of the car and cause of the accident itself.
  8. Agree smileedudesmileedude – although am inclined to think the driver likely misjudged truck’s speed, that the car driver was so focused on a suitable gap opening up in stream of traffic from right that failed to recheck left thinking had plenty of time/room. Drivers misjudging speed is also a common factor when it comes to motorcycles (vehicles outside the driver’s perception of what’s common/the norm)

    Perhaps what can also be elaborated on is clues to watch for that raises the alert that evasive action is on the cards (which prompts thought in advance - gives time to plan - for real impending danger such as where might go/turn to avoid), clues such as a stationary car which then starts to slowly roll/creep fwd, opportunistic gaps opening up for them to carry out intended maneuvre etc.
  9. The point i'm making barry_mcki is that people will often instantly blame the other party in a SMIDSY, such as "he must have been speeding or filtering" as to them you came out of no-where. After a near miss I will often talk to the driver at the next lights calmly with "What happened", the answers you get are very interesting.

    3mph over is negligible in this case. Had he been doing 250km/h in a R1 then I would side with the driver as it would be genuinely a hard target to identify in a check.

    This is a good video
    • Informative Informative x 2
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  10. I used the gif as an example. I did make a lot of assumptions and am aware of the irony...

    I just wanted to raise the point of driver assumptions. I know I've made bad assumptions in my time on the road too.

    To give some real examples, I've got several intersections I ride through daily where I have had several people not see me.

    The first is a T section round about. The top of the T is incredibly busy. The stem of the is quiet. I approach from the stem and turn right. Cars also back up and obscure vision. I find I don't get seen because people just assume that as they are on a busy road that they won't need to give way, and often blindly follow the car in front.

    Another is my driveway. I live in a 900 unit complex that is near the end of a col de sac. People coming out of the driveway almost never have to give way to anything on the street because it's dead after my driveway. I can cross through the col de sac so I often come from the dead side. People regularly just drive out of the driveway without looking.

    Ive not been seen hundreds of times at these intersections, yet I've never had a near miss. What I'm suggesting in this thread is for new riders to try and recognise situations where drivers wont see them because they've made assumptions. Good road craft is looking at the road from an average drivers perspective and realisimg what mistakes they are likely to make.
  11. The key in that video and I think the take home lesson is that assume the driver is going to turn based on the traffic in the oncoming (to you) lane.

    The driver was timing their exit according to a gap in the road on that side. So if you are approaching and there is a gap forming on the other side or if it is clear - assume the worst and cover, move in the lane, turn hi-beam on or whatever but keep your guard up.

    But the video is excellent in showing that some drivers are just completely shit.

    Remember some might even have visual field defects as in glaucoma or a previous mini-stroke etc that blinds them that they haven't really been assessed with. I think drivers at fault in situations like these should have a mandatory vision test. It might save another motorist.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  12. As far as the fire truck gif, I agree with Marcus about the sun, the length of the fire trucks shadow must have the sun very low on the horizon almost directly behind the truck making it near invisible. So that is a good lesson from this, something that I myself am guilty for not taking enough notice of, that is if the sun is behind me, what can the vehicles in front see, if anything. Just because I can see them doesn't mean they always have an unhindered view of me, sometimes SMIDSY is more than them just not looking/interpreting.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. The other side of this coin is what assumptions do riders make that get them into trouble?

    Even IF a rider is seen, there's no guarantee that the driver has assessed them correctly since a bike is a deceptive object on the road. It's the truth behind the fallacy of hi viz.
  14. This stuff has been studied and its not so much assumptions as programmed behaviour and we all do it. Where people get in trouble is when it goes outside what they have been programmed to do and the second or so delay when you have to think then react is too much. Been there done that!
  15. Gees these drivers piss me off. fcuking blind idiots.
  16. Sometimes the Hi-Vis just doesn't cut it:

  17. Some very interesting posts here. I'll definitely be adding the anti-SMIDSY weave to my repertoire.