Reaction times - galileo

Idly surfing the Net I came across a number of sites that have tests of reaction time, involving clicking in response to a colour change or other signal, five times to arrive at an average.

Tried five different sites, my results, average times (in milliseconds) were:-

311, 355, 304, 319 and 371, for a total average reaction time of 332 ms (0.332 seconds, or

Reactions are supposed to become slower with age, I'm almost 75, what typical times do younger backroomers achieve?

Reaction times - focussed

The younger element - typically Corsa drivers with huge exhaust pipes and 6 months driving experience who play lots of computer games, are always going on about how older drivers have slower reactions and they should be banned from the road.

But more experienced drivers tend to avoid situations where lightning fast reactions are necessary to survive - by looking ahead and anticipating what might happen with any given situation.

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread - is my take on it!

I did an average of 305 - probably practice dodging saucepans from OH!

Reaction times - RobJP

48 years old, I averaged 293 on the humanbenchmark site. However, the first 2 were well over 300ms, the last 3 were all around 275ms. Indicating that as I grew used to what the test involved, I became faster.

But as focussed says, it's far better to avoid trouble by anticipation, than it is to notice it at the last instant and react out of the way.

Reaction times - Wackyracer

Same age as RobJP first 5 tries average 242ms.

Reaction times - concrete

I am so pleased that younger drivers do have faster reaction times. Around here they certainly need them as tailgating and rallying around some of the narrow lanes is a national sport!!! They only drive to the brake lights of the vehicle in front and have little awareness of the the traffic conditions in front or behind them. leaving a gap between moving vehicle is a mortal sin. I always drive with a gap to allow for sudden braking or turning off. This means I generally don't have to stop or swerve when the vehicle in front turns off. This frustrates the hell out of following younger drivers, especially as there is very little opportunity for overtaking. As stated my reaction times are decently below the 300 level but hardly need to exercise them because I try to drive to accommodate the other road users and conditions.

Interesting exercise though. Cheers Concrete

Reaction times - RobJP

Oh, definitely not just younger drivers who drive like that.

One friend of mine who is 50 drives completely 'binary', as I call it. He's either on the acelerator, or on the brake. Never looks far enough ahead to anticipate.

Reaction times - concrete

Hi Rob, it must be a personality quirk. No one was ever taught to drive like that. I always used to get far more mpg from company cars. When asked how I always said it was driving style. I didn't hang about unecessarily but prefer to observe the notional limits and drive aware. Strange thing really. Good job we aren't all the same.

Cheers Concrete

Reaction times - Engineer Andy

Oh, definitely not just younger drivers who drive like that.

One friend of mine who is 50 drives completely 'binary', as I call it. He's either on the acelerator, or on the brake. Never looks far enough ahead to anticipate.

I used to work with a guy who regularly went through brake pads and discs, and yet was doing roughly similar mileages to myself in similar sized/performance cars. He at the time (around 2001) was quite young, about the 21-22 mark, so not a very experienced driver, but nonetheless I still wondered why he went through brakes so much compared to myself.

I found out one day when we were travelling to a site visit in his car - as RobJP said about his friend, it never occurred to my colleague to 'feather the throttle' or 'back off the throttle' at any time, barrelling up to junctions or slower vehicles in front, then slamming on the brakes before deciding to do something next, such as overtake the slower vehicle or entering a roundabout.

I strongly believe that a keen observation of our surroundings, including other road users and pedestrians, and as a consequence, anticipation of upcoming manouvres (or possible ones required) well in advance is one of the key components of being a safe, competent and smooth driver, who often makes better progress on their journey than this other type spoken of.

I often catch up such drivers who bomb down my local bypass, but frequently get in the wrong lane later on or who don't pay sufficient attention (or remember from previous experiences) and end up stuck behind slow-moving vehicles or people queuing to enter a car park, earlier slip road or suchlike, as opposed to where this driver actually wants to go (some I've seen do this are 'regulars').

What doesn't help these sort of people either is that they often are also distracted by having their ICE on loudly (so much so that you can hear the music [all windows up] at motorway speeds) or are fiddling with it or the satnav, or talking on the phone when they should be concentrating on the road. On the few occasions I've taken a call (hands-free) whilst driving, I, like many people, make sure the person I'm speaking to knows I'm driving, and when I have to stop talking for a while when I need to concentrate on driving.

Its definitely noticeable that reaction times are significantly reduced when we get distracted on the road, whether by passengers, phone calls, the antics of other drivers or by our own lack of awareness of our surroundings. I've seen many times near misses and a few accidents because of this sort of thing.

Reaction times - galileo

Thanks to all for the results and comments.

As far as I remember the Highway Code stopping distances used to suggest a thinking (reaction) distance of 30 feet at 30 mph, which equates to 2./3 rds of a second (666 ms) (30mph = 44ft/sec).

Agree with the points on observation and anticipation, concentrate on making smooth progress with safety.

Reaction times - craig-pd130

Thinking of speed in feet per second is always sobering (multiplying the speed in mph by 1.5 gives a close approximation).

50mph is 75ft/s which, given the average reaction times of around 0.3s, is 25ft (or over a car's length) before we're even capable of reacting, let alone decelerating, etc.

Reaction times - concrete

I am so pleased that younger drivers do have faster reaction times. Around here they certainly need them as tailgating and rallying around some of the narrow lanes is a national sport!!! They only drive to the brake lights of the vehicle in front and have little awareness of the the traffic conditions in front or behind them. leaving a gap between moving vehicle is a mortal sin. I always drive with a gap to allow for sudden braking or turning off. This means I generally don't have to stop or swerve when the vehicle in front turns off. This frustrates the hell out of following younger drivers, especially as there is very little opportunity for overtaking. As stated my reaction times are decently below the 300 level but hardly need to exercise them because I try to drive to accommodate the other road users and conditions.

Interesting exercise though. Cheers Concrete

Time to own up. I am 69 too. Where did that go????? Concrete

Reaction times - Avant

Interesting thread so moved to Motoring.

I'd never heard of the human benchmark site, so thanks! Good idea to test oneself from time to time - as you say, Rob, one gets better at it over the five tries. Mine was 289 down to 251 - average 271, which isn't too bad (I'm 69).

Reaction times - John F

That's v good, Avant. It depends whether you use a 'tap' to click, or keep your finger on on the click button of a mouse. I tried it on two different computers, averaging over five goes 310 for 'tapping' and 295 for 'clicking'. (I too am closer to 70 than 65)

Reaction times - argybargy

I love stuff that stimulates my competitive urge and which doesn't involve me getting out of my armchair.

272 for me, and yet the other day the wife and I were nearly wiped out when on a dark and rainy evening and only headlights for reference, I miscalculated the speed of an approaching vehicle and crossed a dual carriageway when I should have waited.

Which demonstrates to me an obvious lesson, being that quick reactions are only useful when your other senses give you the full picture.

Reaction times - gordonbennet

Thats very interesting Argybargy, and glad you didn't have a mishap.

I wonder if the headlights you misjudged were LED's? i ask this because some people, i am one of them, can just see the flicker of many of the LED tail lights fitted to so many vehicles now, and i've noticed how difficult (not helped by them being umpteen million watts) it is to judge the rate of deceleration when an LED brake lit car in front brakes.

Compare to a car fitted with normal brake bulbs and you an judge the rate of deceleration very quickly.

edit just did the test, started at 331, ended at 251 average 287, i'm 62.

SWMBO just did it, started off at 268, gradually got worse, average 283, i wouldn't dream of mentioning a woman's age.

Edited by gordonbennet on 28/11/2017 at 09:59

Reaction times - argybargy

Thats very interesting Argybargy, and glad you didn't have a mishap.

I wonder if the headlights you misjudged were LED's? i ask this because some people, i am one of them, can just see the flicker of many of the LED tail lights fitted to so many vehicles now, and i've noticed how difficult (not helped by them being umpteen million watts) it is to judge the rate of deceleration when an LED brake lit car in front brakes.

Compare to a car fitted with normal brake bulbs and you an judge the rate of deceleration very quickly.

edit just did the test, started at 331, ended at 251 average 287, i'm 62.

Thanks, GB. I don't have many such events but this one really shook me.

It was about 6pm in the evening, dark, raining heavily and the traffic SHOULD have been coming towards me at about 50mph as I waited to cross four lanes. I suspect that what I saw when I glanced to my right was a bunch of cars doing something around that speed and at a safe distance to allow me to cross, but that slightly ahead of the rest there was one vehicle which was going much faster, and it was this one that nearly hit us.

Very difficult to work out the relative speed of different vehicles in those conditions, I guess, and if I found myself in the same situation again, I reckon I would wait until there were no approaching headlights visible at all. As for what type of lights they were, I couldn't honestly tell you.

It occured to me afterwards that wearing my glasses might have helped in those circumstances (because at this point in time I only ever wear them to read road signs at night on unfamiliar roads), so next time we're out driving at night I'll put them on and see whether that helps.

Reaction times - klu01dbt

Age 34, using human benchmark site Average of 256ms high of 297.

Reaction times - pcvpilotmick

Age 39, human benchmark average 235.0ms

Reaction times - catsdad
I did the test this morning and averaged 309, aged 62.

However I had also done it at 5.30 am yesterday before breakfast and straight after 6 hours kip and was over 600 (so disgusted I didnt keep exact score). Made me think of the other "Polo" thread where the young driver is proposing an all night trip up to Scotland. What would my figure be at, say, 3 am if I had worked all day and had no sleep?

I may take the test again on Friday evening after a couple of pints of reaction slowing ale. Perhaps I owe it to the Backroom to run such tests over increasing quantities over the festive season. Don't thank me, its my scientific duty.
Reaction times - Avant

Many thanks, Catsdad. You don't owe it to us but we'll certainly be interested to know how you get on. I must take it again myself one morning! The first one, where I didn't do too badly, was quite late at night.

Reaction times - John Boy

I've just done the Human Benchmark test and averaged 253. I'm 74.

Reaction times - oldroverboy.

Average 314ms best 291ms...

2nd run 315ms...

Reaction times - veryoldbear

Average 310ms, age 74 and two glasses of wine.

Not sure it proves anything much ....

Reaction times - Manatee

Average 280ms. But I don't live on my reactions.

The test of course is not representative of real life, because it's a test - you know the colour will change in a few seconds, your finger is on the trigger, you don't take your eyes off it and you have no decision to make as to what to do.

It probably isn't uncommon for reaction time when driving to be a couple of seconds or more from seeing the hazard to braking.

The answer is to drive in such a way that you have time to react to 99% of what might happen. The really tough ones are last minute turns across ones bows or pedestrians launching randomly into the road.

Reaction times - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}

Averaged 325 ms after much practice. But that was tensely staring at the screen and holding my breath with expectation. I'm over 65 .

Waiting on something to happen is not the same as using anticipation of hazards. Many good points above.

Reaction times - Brit_in_Germany

All these times are presumably measured with you looking at a screen waiting for an event to occur, i.e. a not very realistic test of a driving environment. Maybe the older generations are more affected while driving by other thoughts (now deary me, did I remember to put the cat out before I left ...)

 

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