November 18, 2013
In recent years, the U.S. has experienced a reduction in the incidence of serious accidents involving cars and small trucks. Unfortunately, however, the number of motorcycle accidents has increased over the same period. Although a variety of factors contribute to the occurrence of motorcycle accidents, a new study suggests that drivers' failure to correct for a quirk of human psychology may contribute to causing accidents in some cases.
Researchers at Texas Tech University examined the ways in which a particular object's size can affect a person's ability to perceive its distance. Their study, published recently in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, found that small, close objects can sometimes appear to be farther away than large, far away objects. The team suggests that this may contribute to drivers' inability to accurately gauge motorcyclists' speed and distance, which in turn can lead to serious accidents.