November 27, 2013, by Yvonne Teoh

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) – LOOK there is an approaching vehicle, is it SAFE to pull out?“

Continuing with the series of posts on the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, here is Lee Yee Mun’s entry titled “LOOK there is an approaching vehicle, is it SAFE to pull out?“

Have you ever driven in Malaysia? Or have you adapted to Malaysian driving’s style and did not realize the problems with it? My research area is about the cognitive aspects of driving, in specific the perception and judgment involved during driving in Malaysia. To put it simply, imagine that you are approaching a junction, and before pulling out onto the main road, you have to look at the correct direction, to see and recognized the approaching vehicles, and to judge whether it was safe to pull out.

Road death is one of the major causes of death in the world and Malaysia is ranked NUMBER ONE in road fatalities; which is caused by 23.8 deaths per 100k inhabitants; with 60% involving motorcycles and 20% involving cars; and 17% of road death happened at junctions.

My research aims to understand and explore the reasons and factors that cause high accident rates in Malaysia especially at the junctions. Real life driving situation is complex, where drivers might encounter various things on the road. For example, there are different types of vehicles; which might appear in different colours; you might be driving at night or during daytime; each vehicle might travel at different speed and etc. How do all these different factors affect our perception and judgment?

We have adopted an experimental methodology which allowed us to create a series of experiments that investigate each factor but keeping other variables in controlled. It is not only aimed to understand, but it also creates interventions which would increase the ability to perceive and decrease the tendency to judge it was safe to pull out at junctions in order to avoid a collision. In terms of applications, such findings would be able to provide evidence, create awareness, and improve our understanding which can then be applied in real life driving situations.

So, drive safe everyone, and thank you.

Lee Yee Mun
(PhD Student, School of Psychology, UNMC)

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