The conspicuity of pedestrians at night: A review

Tyrrell, Richard A., Wood, Joanne M., Owens, D. Alfred, Whetsel Borzendowski, Stephanie, & Stafford Sewall, Ashley (2016) The conspicuity of pedestrians at night: A review. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 99(5), pp. 425-434.

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Drivers' visual limitations are a leading contributor to night-time traffic crashes involving pedestrians. This paper reviews the basic changes in vision that occur at night for young and old visually healthy drivers, as well as those with common ocular pathology. To maximise their safety at night, pedestrians should be conspicuous. That is, beyond being simply visible (detectable as an ambiguous object), they should attract the attention of drivers and be readily perceivable as pedestrians. Research has established that the conspicuity of pedestrians can be optimised by attaching retroreflective markings to the pedestrian's extremities. Doing so highlights the pedestrian's ‘biological motion,’ which facilitates the accurate perception of a person; however, retroreflective markings on the torso (for example, vests) are less effective. Importantly, behavioural evidence indicates that most road users – drivers and pedestrians alike – are not aware of the limitations of night vision. For example, drivers typically ‘overdrive’ the useful range of their headlight beams and under-use their high beam headlight setting. Further, pedestrians overestimate their own conspicuity at night and fail to appreciate the extent to which their own conspicuity depends on their clothing. The widespread misunderstanding of the challenges associated with night driving reflects a lack of awareness of the fundamental limitations of night vision. Educational interventions are needed to ameliorate these dangerous misunderstandings and to improve the safety of all road users at night.

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3 citations in Scopus
2 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 99701
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: driver's vision;night driving;pedestrians
DOI: 10.1111/cxo.12447
ISSN: 0816-4622
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 John Wiley & Sons Inc
Deposited On: 06 Oct 2016 03:06
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 04:52

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