Cause of collisions



Stuff NZ Newspapers


Approximately half of New Zealand’s road accidents are head-on collisions, caused by faulty decisions made by motorists assuming that they have sufficient room to execute a passing manoeuvre. A person’s visual perception process is the major skill used to estimate that there is sufficient clear road space ahead to permit safe passing. Unfortunately, perceptual ability is like any other mental ability and skill, and is widely distributed. Thus, people with limited visual perception skills are more prone to make poor passing decisions. When alcohol is involved it makes the situation that much worse. A person’s perceptual ability can be assessed quite readily by a quickly administered psychological test which could be given as part of the driver licence test. In this way those people with deficient visual perception ability could be identified and either denied a licence or helped to understand their problems and how it is likely to affect their driving. If visual perception skills were assessed and addressed there would be a likely significant lowering of the number of head-on collisions. Russell Read, Roxburgh