Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Was she right?

If you don't read Richard Wiseman's blog you should.

Over there he writes:
Today I overheard a woman describing a rather unfortunate event that had happened to her.
She was driving along and suddenly an Alsatian dog ran out in front of her car. She did an emergency stop, causing a bus to go into the back of her car and, unfortunately, killing one of the passengers onboard the bus.
The woman felt partly responsible for the death.
So, my question is….. should she have carried out the emergency stop?
I put this on Twitter yesterday and received a large number of very different replies, so thought it would be interesting to have
Here are my thoughts:

My thoughts echo others: She was right to perform an emergency stop. The bus should have had sufficient braking distance, and so, the bus driver was in the wrong. The lady who stopped is not responsible – though of course if I were in her place, I’m sure I would also feel partly responsible. However, I’m also confident that, again, if I were in her place, I would emergency stop again if another animal came running out into the road. Also, it should be remembered, that the emergency stop is also quite a reflexive operation – you do it without really thinking.

Go and chip in your own!

In other news, am busy finishing my PGCE - looking forward to blogging about my assignment which looks at attitudes to science and religion in school children.


  1. I'm with you on this. The vehicle in back of you has the burden to keep a decent distance.

  2. Richard is often cute about the wordings he uses for the puzzles he gives you, and leaves you to fill out such assumptions as are necessary to come to a conclusion. I think it was "cute" of him to suggest that the car driver "caused" the bus to go into the back of her, especially since this is the very point the moral conundrum turns on. It is clear that many people disagree that the driver "caused" that - yet R states it as if it were a fact. But there could be other aspects of the situation, which are not disclosed, in which the word "caused" would be fair assessment. For example, if the car driver had just overtaken the bus, pulled in front of it so that the bus driver had no opportunity to set a safe distance, and then suddenly stopped. Then the car driver would have "caused" it.


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