Conference Proceeding

Eye Contact between Pedestrians and Drivers

Authors: , , , , , , ,


When asked a great number of people believe that, as pedestrians, they make eye contact with the driver of an approaching vehicle when making their crossing decisions. This work presents evidence that this widely held belief is false. We do so by showing that, in majority of cases where conflict is possible, pedestrians begin crossing long before they are able to see the driver through the windshield. In other words, we are able to circumvent the very difficult question of whether pedestrians choose to make eye contact with drivers, by showing that whether they think they do or not, they can’t. Specifically, we show that over 90% of people in representative lighting conditions cannot determine the gaze of the driver at 15m and see the driver at all at 30m. This means that, for example, that given the common city speed limit of 25mph, more than 99% of pedestrians would have begun crossing before being able to see either the driver or the driver’s gaze. In other words, from the perspective of the pedestrian, in most situations involving an approaching vehicle, the crossing decision is made by the pedestrian solely based on the kinematics of the vehicle without needing to determine that eye contact was made by explicitly detecting the eyes of the driver.


How to Cite: AlAdawy, D. , Glazer, M. , Terwilliger, J. , Schmidt, H. , Domeyer, J. , Mehler, B. , Reimer, B. & Fridman, L. (2019) “Eye Contact between Pedestrians and Drivers”, Driving Assessment Conference. 10(2019). doi: