Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Archive: Human Factors

The Big Difference Between Conspicuity and Visibility

Visibility aids, such as lighting, reflectors, and fluorescent material, are marketed to vulnerable road users (VRUs) like pedestrians and bicyclists as a way to enhance their safety on the road. These visibility aids increase the VRU’s contrast within the roadway environment therefore increasing their visibility. However, increasing visibility does not necessarily mean enhancing conspicuity. For example, the key difference between a visible pedestrian and a conspicuous pedestrian is that a visible pedestrian is distinguishable from their background whereas a conspicuous pedestrian “grabs” the driver’s visual attention. Read More

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The Collision Reconstruction Matrix – The Human

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Murder, suicide, deceit, and intrigue… car crashes? You bet! In our next installment of the 9-Cell Collision Matrix let us dive a little deeper into the glue that binds all this together, the human element.

Photo by Mark Turner

Let’s begin with the most basic human element at the root cause of car wrecks, our old friend inattention. Inattention… a vast word that encompasses many lackadaisical conditions. The daydreaming 16-year-old in math class, the radio knob turner, the back seat talker, the quarter pounder with cheese eater, and perhaps the most offensive, the cell phone user. All very dangerous behind the wheel, and one very dangerous to your future… as it turns out, you will always need good math skills… ask me how I know? Driving is of course a divided attention endeavor, Read More

The Best Use of Visibility Aids – Contrast

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There are various visibility aids marketed for vulnerable road users (VRUs). Here, the term VRU is used to describe unprotected road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists. Visibility aids are designed to increase a VRU’s contrast within their environment, making them more distinguishable from the background to a driver. These visibility aids can include both active and passive ways to increase the VRU’s contrast, therefore their visibility. As the name implies, active visibility aids actively transmit light and are powered by a source (i.e., battery powered bicycle headlights and taillights) while passive visibility aids passively reflect light coming from outside sources (i.e., fluorescent, and retroreflective clothing).

There are a wide variety of active visibility aids to choose from on the market. For example, Read More

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