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Traffic Safety Film of the Week

Again, not an official safety film, but here’s a “greatest hits” of collisions between a tram (in Houston, I believe) and a series of cars. Most of these seem to clearly involve negligent or outright illegal acts by drivers, but the video serves as a very effective kind of warning: It is in fact quite possible to not see something as large as the train that stretches behind you in the rear-view mirror. The mishaps could be any combination of mirror blind-spot, an expectancy issue (odd given the bollards or raised bumps), or simply not bothering to look before making a turn.

(Horn honk to Dan)

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This entry was posted on Monday, May 18th, 2009 at 3:58 pm and is filed under Traffic safety films. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Traffic Safety Film of the Week”

  1. Donald Says:

    No wonder so many motorists cut me off as if I don’t exist. How could they possibly see a bicycle when they can’t even see a train? For that matter, how could they even see other cars?! >.< The world won’t be safe from cars until computers drive them instead of humans.

  2. DoctorJay Says:

    Looks like it’s an expectancy issue. You don’t expect someone to be going straight on your left when you’re in a left turn lane. A few of the drivers are in no-left-turn lanes, so they have no excuse, but I can imagine that when trying to navigate a left turn against oncoming traffic the last thing you expect is someone coming up from behind on the left.

  3. Tony Toews Says:

    I’m with DoctorJay on this one. The tram lane is usually empty. You simply don’t ever expect to have anyone coming up on your left hand side in a left turn lane. I can easily see myself making that same mistake unless I just happened to notice some motion in my mirror.

  4. Yokota Fritz Says:

    I’ve seen some pretty close calls on VTA light rail, and I’ve seen motorists drive right onto the light rail ROW.

    And then there was the time I was on a city bus in heavy traffic. We’re moving maybe 5 mph and the guy in the work truck immediately to our right merged left into the side of our nearly stopped bus. I couldn’t figure that one out at all.

  5. Jack Says:

    The “don’t expect” excuse is just one of many (train is too big to see, cyclists too small, blind spots, distracted, etc.) used by drivers. Convenient excuses demonstrate the disconnect between drivers and their primary responsibilities. Whether cycling or driving, this foolish behavior is witnessed daily. It reminds me of drivers who signal lane changing only after crossing the line and using half of the desired lane. Expecting the worse often helps in preventing accidents.

  6. Vince Sunter Says:

    And where, exactly, is “personal responsibility” in this huh? ie the real problem!

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

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