Do drivers close their eyes momentarily when turning their heads?

My rudimentary experiment proves to me that when a driver turns his head quickly from side to side, his eyes close during that head turn. The quicker the turn of head, the longer the eyes are closed. I dare say there is a name for that reaction but I don't know it. My low-tech experiment shows that at a 'T' junction the driver looks both ways. The speed of head turn determines the duration of closed eyes during that head turn. So as the driver's head turns and eyes close, another road user in that eyes-closed part of the driver's head turn is not seen by the driver. The driver completes his head turn, does not register the other road user, sets off and 'bump', usually a motorcyclist cops it.

The driver says "sorry mate, I didn't see you". This eyes shut reaction to quick head turns also affects linesmen and refs in football matches, especially, and other sports. Would you publicise my observations in your column, and hopefully a road safety body or insurance body will take my observations further, scientifically.

Asked on 6 February 2012 by PE, Bolton

Answered by Honest John
Many thanks. My own experience makes me think this is more likely to affect individuals rather then be generally true. Let’s see what others have to say.
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