P1 First Person: The illusion of seeing

By Derrick D. Bartlett
PoliceOne Member

Your shift has been quiet to the point of being boring.  You’re driving around, thinking about what you want to do on your days off, and watching the minutes tick by, one at a time.

The alert tone snaps you out of your driving trance.  “Accident with injuries,” is broadcast, and you realize the address is only a few blocks away, so you answer up to take the call.  You pull up to a stop sign along the way.  You stop; look left, right, and then left once again.  All clear, you start to pull out into the intersection.  The sound of a motorcycle slamming broadside into your patrol car sounds like an explosion.

You drive a car every day, both on the job and in your personal life.  You know the rules of the road, and you know there is a need to yield to oncoming traffic.  How could you not see a motorcycle coming straight toward you?

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