Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology


Tyrrell, Richard A

Committee Member

Pagano , Chris

Committee Member

Gugerty , Leo


Inadequate pedestrian detection is a crucial contributing factor in fatal nighttime collisions involving pedestrians. Pedestrians typically overestimate how recognizable they are to oncoming drivers and little is known about what affects pedestrians' estimates of how recognizable they think they are. This study explored the extent to which pedestrians believed their conspicuity was affected by headlight intensity and clothing reflectance. Participants in four clothing conditions and in four different levels of headlight intensity walked to and from a parked vehicle until they felt recognizable to the driver. Estimated recognition distances did not change with variations in headlight intensity, suggesting that pedestrians do not use headlight illumination when judging their own conspicuity. Participants estimated shorter recognition distances when in Black clothing compared to more reflective clothing. These findings indicate a need to educate pedestrians about night visibility issues.

Included in

Psychology Commons