Hard to gauge speeds at night. Inattention, illusion, or visual deficit?
October 16, 2006 6:12 AM Subscribe
Is there any sort of recognised optical illusion or visual deficit that can make it hard to realize that a vehicle is stationary?
posted by anonymous to law & government (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A friend of mine is a lawyer. S/he is looking for a lead that may save someone from going to jail.
My friend's client was driving his truck in the right lane of an elevated road at night. A car had stopped in the lane ahead because the driver's passenger felt sick. There was no stopping lane, nothing was to the right of the car but a guardrail. Three other cars had stopped behind the first car. My friend's client struck the last car, killing the people inside.
I've noticed that it can be hard to gauge speeds at night. In this case the road was lit but there were no visible trees or houses. The driver will have seen the road surface, the guard rail at the side of the road, the poles supporting the street lights, cars travelling in each direction and the stationary cars. Is there any reasonable explanation other than inattention for him not realizing that the cars were stationary? He doesn't recall the moments before the crash.
If it makes any difference, I'm not the lawyer or the client, and I don't know the client.