Letter to the Editor | Theory on tragic highway accidents

Letter to the Editor | Theory on tragic highway accidents

Back during World War II, some fighter pilots suffered from what was called target fixation. That was when they would become so perceptually locked onto their adversary that they would lose situational awareness and could crash into the opponent's plane or fly into the ground under full power.

I am wondering if a similar phenomenon is not happening with drivers crashing into police cars sitting along the road with their bright red, white and blue lights flashing.

It seems that with the advent of the brighter, more color-saturated and sharper flash period of LED lights, we have seen an increase in these tragic accidents. The drivers' minds may be becoming so fixed on the bright lights that they are losing awareness of their distance, position and closing time. They end up where they didn't know they were.

Of course, with many people driving 80 mph and over doesn't help matters either.

If this idea were to prove valid, a breakup of the flash sequence or a random introduction of a fourth color or some other change might help re-establish the observers' consciousness of their situation. Hmmm ... research grant, anyone?


White Heath