Handedness and traffic accidents

In a current Cracked article the writer says that when a driver is startled by something in front of him, he instinctively swerves in the direction of his strong hand to avoid it. So right-handers swerve off the road and left-handers swerve into the opposite lane and the result is left-handed drivers supposedly have more serious accidents.

The writer makes a passing comment about the British but doesn’t follow up on it. However, it’s a significant issue. If what he writes is true, then you’d expect to see a much higher traffic casualty rate in countries, like the UK, where they drive on the left side of the road.

Is there any evidence of this? Or is the writer’s claim unfounded?

I would think that generally you swerve in the opposite direction from an obstruction… unless it’s coming head-on.

Considering how many pairs of people do the left-right-left-right dance to avoid running into another person, unless all those people walking toward me in those situations are lefties, I would say the general trend is either (a) totally random or (b) toward the most open side.

.Nm phone malfunction

I used to be on our fatal accident investigation team. I have been to many accident reconstruct classes. I have never seen any evidence of this in my experience and I have never heard of it in any class.

My thought was that the instinct people would develop would be to steer away from the road. In other words they’d go off the side of the road regardless of which side they were driving on or which was their strong hand.

But you may be right in thinking people would instinctively steer to the right for an object in their left field of vision and vice versa.

Cracked.com? That says it all.

You know what I mean - you’re walking towards someone, so you zig in one direction, they go that same way. You both realize it at the same time, and you both zag the other way. If you have time, you may do this a time or two more before you stop dead and laugh and sort it out.

This would not happen if people instinctively zigged right (or left if lefties). The only time this dance would happen is with a righty-lefty pair coming together. I don’t think this is the case - I think we both head for the most open side…

It’s easy to test. Next time this happens, ask the other fellow if they are lefthanded.