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Can “the psychology of driving” prevent motorcycle accidents?

AdobeStock_211103588.jpegIn just the last decade, distracted driving has become one of the top causes of fatal accidents across the country. When individuals think of distracted driving, they usually link it with anything that pulls a driver’s eyes away from the road.

Visual distractions can make the roads especially dangerous for motorcyclists on Georgia roads. However, a new study states that drivers may rely less on their vision and more on their memory when behind the wheel.

“Saw but Forgot” error is a common cause of motorcycle accidents, according to research

Concentrating and keeping our eyes on the road is one of the most critical aspects of driving safely. However, a new study published by scientists through the science publication PLOS One reports that even if drivers do keep their eyes and attention on the road, they still might miss motorcycles.

The study found that this is because of an issue called the “Saw but Forgot” error. This error often plays a significant role in accidents involving motorcycles. Essentially, a driver’s brain must process a lot of information at a fast pace, especially when they are driving at high speeds. And from this study, scientists believe that many drivers actually do see motorcyclists on the road, but their brain forgets that they did.

Is there a way to avoid this error?

Hearing that our brains forget some of the information our eyes send them can be disconcerting for many drivers. Thankfully, drivers can take measures to ensure they do not “see but forget” motorcyclists:

  1. Drivers can say what they see out loud: It may sound strange, but the scientists who conducted the study determined that drivers can trick their brain into remembering what they see by saying it out loud. This is because visual memory is different from auditory memory.
  2. Drivers can look twice for motorcycles: “Look twice, save a life,” has been a common slogan for many motorcycle safety campaigns across the country. The slogan mostly refers to how motorcycles have a low-visibility on the road compared to other larger vehicles. However, looking twice might also help a driver’s brain be aware of the motorcyclist.

If drivers take action and become aware of all the ways they can share the road safely and keep motorcyclists safe, then there is a significant chance we can reduce the rate of these catastrophic accidents.