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JLuvs2dive introduced me to the concept. It makes sense...

Here is the wiki definition...

Target fixation is a process by which the brain is focused so intently on an observed object that awareness of other obstacles or hazards can diminish. Also, in an avoidance scenario, the observer can become so fixated on the target that they will forget to take the necessary action to avoid it, thus colliding with the object.
This is a common issue for motorcyclists and mountain bikers. A motorcycle or bicycle will tend to go where the rider is looking; if the rider is overly focused on an obstacle, the cycle can collide with that object simply because of the rider's focus on it, even though the rider is ostensibly trying to avoid it.
The term target fixation was used in World War II fighter-bomber pilot training to describe pilots flying into targets during a strafing or bombing run.[1]



I wonder if mistakenly do this in our personal lives, too...
 

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It has certainly happened to me... gratefully the shoulder or that rough warning track shook my concentration and I recovered.

I also have read about it many times where a car is parked on the shoulder and drivers fixate on the flashers and run right into the parked car.
 

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With out a doubt I know I do much to often. Like the pot hole you look at or the man hole cover you keep in your main vision while riding instead of your peripheral vision.

You will hit it every time. The wife keeps me from being to single minded and see's things from a different perspective. Can't see the tree's because the forest is in the way.
Very good point.
.
 

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I experienced just that several years ago on a ride. We were riding to Friendship, Indiana for their festival. We were in open country and I saw a 90 degree right hand curve up ahead however we were not going too fast and I thought we would have no problems making the turn. I was riding third in our group of six. As the rider in front of me approached the curve I saw him cross the centerline of the road and ride off the left side of the road. I wondered what his problem was as he never made any effort to make the turn' he just drove off the road. The highway department had cut the road near the center of the curve and put in a drainage culvert. They had buried it with gravel and had not replaced the blacktop. They had too much gravel and there was a pile about four feet high on the left side of the road. My friend 'ramped' over the pile and became airborne maybe 5 feet in the air. When the bike landed his face hit the top edge of the windshield and he went over the front of the bike and landed in the field maybe 10 feet in front of his bike. While I had been watching all this take place I had continued to approach the curve and by then I was in too far and too fast to make the curve. As I glanced to the left I saw that there was another road taking off maybe 30 degrees to the left which I had not seen while I was fixated on my buddy's problem. Somehow I made that turn to the left although I almost ran over my left foot with the rear wheel. (That is hard to do) ;-) I got my bike stopped as did the other 4 riders in our group and to make a long story short our buddy got to take an ambulance to the nearest hospital, maybe 20 miles, and then a helicopter ride to Louisville for surgery. He recovered fully but we never did learn why he just drove off the road although I suspect that he was fixated on something other than the curve. I was really glad that I was riding my Kawasaki 800 Vulcan Custom instead of my Gold Wing because I know I could have not handled the Wing to make that turn!

 

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Been there done that.....
 

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My last sentence...

I wonder how many of us do that in our personal lives... I mean off the bike. We find ourselves headed for a disaster, but fixate on it, and cant steer clear... hmmm
 

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I can't say that I agree 100% about target fixation. A few years ago when I shot in alot of Archrey 3D tournaments, I found that if I was worried about the tree that was in the way, I would have a 50-50 chance of hitting it. Once I started only looking at the target, I never touched another tree.



But when it comes to riding my bike (or even drving my p/u truck), I always watch the danger so I can steer clear. Most mornings on my way to work, I encounter at least one Deer standing along side of the road. Now it would be stupid of me not to keep an eye on it to see what it was going to do.



I have to ask you, When your out cutting the grass & your along your fence, are you watching where your going or are looking at the hot blond two houses away?:?
 

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Not quite the same thing, things generally aren't happening very fast pushing the lawn mower. I've always used the phenomena when I wanted to avoid a piece of junk on the road. Don't look at it, look at the path you want to take. To test it out on a freeway where there are those little sunken reflectors between the white dashed lane marks try switching lanes back and forth several times without hitting those reflectors. Do it by concentrating on looking at the reflector you want to avoid then do it by looking at a path that will allow you to clear them. I'll bet you hit the things more often when you look at them.

You guys in CA won't be able to do this because of traffic of course.:cheeky1:



That's also why I mount my GPS on the bike's centerline, an off center mount can cause you to drift toward that side when looking at the screen a bit too long. Not so much with a centered screen.
 

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UBarW wrote:
My last sentence...

I wonder how many of us do that in our personal lives... I mean off the bike. We find ourselves headed for a disaster, but fixate on it, and cant steer clear... hmmm
I would think that many of us have fixated on winning the battle instead of the war. More than once I have fixated on a solution that ignoredwhat really needed to be done.

Anger and ego are the two biggest causes of this type of fixation. Anger stops us from thinking. Ego stops us from thinking about others.
 

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I've noticed the problem usually happens when I haven't ridden for a while. Sometimes when negotiating a turn I forget to look THROUGH the turn and instead focus on the line I don't want to cross. Almost always leads to "pushing" the line. It's amazing how much easier it is when I remember to look through the turn to where I want to go, instead of where I don't.
 

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nobbie wrote:
UBarW wrote:
My last sentence...

I wonder how many of us do that in our personal lives... I mean off the bike. We find ourselves headed for a disaster, but fixate on it, and cant steer clear... hmmm
I would think that many of us have fixated on winning the battle instead of the war. More than once I have fixated on a solution that ignoredwhat really needed to be done.

Anger and ego are the two biggest causes of this type of fixation. Anger stops us from thinking. Ego stops us from thinking about others.
Agreed. And sometimes, after the fact, we may even look back and say "boy that was dumb of me", but if the anger/ego is too big, we defend our actions to the death! Very good food for thought UBarW, I for one probably do this too often... I think I'll start turning my head when I enter turns to make sure the rest of me goes in the direction I intended :cheesygrin:.

Oh, sorry, I think I hijacked your thread and starting talking about things other than what you meant... back to the accident stories! :D
 

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UBarW wrote:
My last sentence...

I wonder how many of us do that in our personal lives... I mean off the bike. We find ourselves headed for a disaster, but fixate on it, and cant steer clear... hmmm
You probably want to move this to a general discussion forum rather than motorcycle discussion one, if you want answers about it happening in life in general.:thumbsup:

Have I fixated in life, maybe, can't say I could attribute any one thing to doing so, but I certainly have on a motorcycle, with almost disastrous results, once I recovered it and once resulted in a very bumpy ride across a grass edge to a country road. :shock:
 

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galaxyhunter wrote:
I have to ask you, When your out cutting the grass & your along your fence, are you watching where your going or are looking at the hot blond two houses away?:?
ummmmm . . .
Try look'n at the hot blond AND mowing her clothes at the same time.

THEN. . .
Get back to us next week.

:D

OH ! ! ! !
DO NOT forget pictures.
 

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Another term used for fixated is TUNNEL VISION.

Fixate long enough and it's like all your seeing is the end of a tunnel and that is the only place to be or go.

 

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exavid wrote:
Not quite the same thing, things generally aren't happening very fast pushing the lawn mower. I've always used the phenomena when I wanted to avoid a piece of junk on the road. Don't look at it, look at the path you want to take. ------



I don't know what to say. I must be the odd ball in the group, cause in my 39 year driving career, I have passed thousands of Deers standing along side of the road. Not ONCE have I EVER ran off the road & hit one of them. I have had to take major evasive action to avoid them when they decided to run out in front of me. The two Deers that I have hit ran out in between an oncoming & me and I never seen them because of the headlight glare of the oncoming car.



If anybody can honestly say that they never keep an eye on an animal along side of the road is either A: a liar, or B: a liar.
 

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exavid wrote:
... To test it out on a freeway where there are those little sunken reflectors between the white dashed lane marks try switching lanes back and forth several times without hitting those reflectors. Do it by concentrating on looking at the reflector you want to avoid then do it by looking at a path that will allow you to clear them. I'll bet you hit the things more often when you look at them.
Yup... that's EXACTLY RIGHT.

That's the same thing I tell others who don't believe target fixation is an issue to try for themselves.

If you LOOK at them, you'll HIT them nearly every time!

This is why it's so important to train yourself to look at your escape path, NOT the object you're about to hit, when an accident is about to happen.
 

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JUST a scenario:

Your on the expressway and you come upon a rear-end accident on the shoulder.
And you wonder how.

Vehicles that are parked (usually broke down) on the side of the road are likely to be hit.
More than likely it's target fixation. A driver becomes complacent of driving long hours and mentally relaxes usually from boredom.
So that driver begins to stare at the vehicles in front and basically 'follow the leader'.

Well that leader turns off or changes lanes. A new fixation starts with another vehicle way down the road. In catching up, unknowing that vehicle is actually topped, fixated driver rams that parked vehicle.

How true could this scenario be?
:?
 

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galaxyhunter wrote:
exavid wrote:
Not quite the same thing, things generally aren't happening very fast pushing the lawn mower. I've always used the phenomena when I wanted to avoid a piece of junk on the road. Don't look at it, look at the path you want to take. ------
I don't know what to say. I must be the odd ball in the group, cause in my 39 year driving career, I have passed thousands of Deers standing along side of the road. Not ONCE have I EVER ran off the road & hit one of them. I have had to take major evasive action to avoid them when they decided to run out in front of me. The two Deers that I have hit ran out in between an oncoming & me and I never seen them because of the headlight glare of the oncoming car.
If anybody can honestly say that they never keep an eye on an animal along side of the road is either A: a liar, or B: a liar.
I think you misunderstand what I meant. Of course a deer(s) on the side of the road is something one would keep an eye on. The roads around here are infested with the things, and accidents with them are all too common. But what I mostly do is to keep an eye on them while keeping more concentration on where I'm going to go to miss them whether ahead or behind them. Admittedly this is dicey since you can't tell what the things are going to do but my main concern is the path to miss them.

BTW - Just because someone might disagree with you doesn't make them a liar, in my part of the world those are fighting words. I don't believe you are calling me one but it is a lot more polite on a forum where we can't see each other's face or know someone's sense of humor not to be too provocative. Emoticons help a lot with that.
 

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exavid wrote:
galaxyhunter wrote:
exavid wrote:
Not quite the same thing, things generally aren't happening very fast pushing the lawn mower. I've always used the phenomena when I wanted to avoid a piece of junk on the road. Don't look at it, look at the path you want to take. ------
I don't know what to say. I must be the odd ball in the group, cause in my 39 year driving career, I have passed thousands of Deers standing along side of the road. Not ONCE have I EVER ran off the road & hit one of them. I have had to take major evasive action to avoid them when they decided to run out in front of me. The two Deers that I have hit ran out in between an oncoming & me and I never seen them because of the headlight glare of the oncoming car.
If anybody can honestly say that they never keep an eye on an animal along side of the road is either A: a liar, or B: a liar.
I think you misunderstand what I meant. Of course a deer(s) on the side of the road is something one would keep an eye on. The roads around here are infested with the things, and accidents with them are all too common. But what I mostly do is to keep an eye on them while keeping more concentration on where I'm going to go to miss them whether ahead or behind them. Admittedly this is dicey since you can't tell what the things are going to do but my main concern is the path to miss them.

BTW - Just because someone might disagree with you doesn't make them a liar, in my part of the world those are fighting words. I don't believe you are calling me one but it is a lot more polite on a forum where we can't see each other's face or know someone's sense of humor not to be too provocative. Emoticons help a lot with that.
I guess that my point is that just because somebody is watching something (like a Deer) done not automatically guarantee that they are going to steer right into it.

Maybe what I'm doing is not considered "Fixation", But when I see a Deer, it has my complete undivided attention and so far it has worked for me.



BTW, I wasn't calling you a liar, b/c you have stated that you DO keep an eye on the Deer(s). My statement is to those who can say the see a Deer or other animals & pay NO attention to them. But to keep harmony on this forum, I will retract that

statement.:praying:
 

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galaxyhunter wrote:
I guess that my point is that just because somebody is watching something (like a Deer) done not automatically guarantee that they are going to steer right into it.

Maybe what I'm doing is not considered "Fixation", But when I see a Deer, it has my complete undivided attention and so far it has worked for me.
There are people that this does not apply to, but they are a rarity. When my brother was taking his motorcycle training for the police force they found his partner was like you, and it created a special set of trainingissues. The trainer said he'd never encountered anyone that would not go where they were looking without specifically concentrating on not going where they were looking, but this guy was the first. Just know that you are different than most of us in this area. Most of us have to concentrate on not going where we are looking if we don't want to go that way. I use exactly what exavid was talking about with the lane divider bumps and reflectors, to help train myself to be able to look at something like that reflector but tell my brain to miss it, but if I don't make that effort, I will hit it every time when I'm concentrating on it.

Back to the topic, I definitely think it applies to other areas of our lives. When I was a young man my girlfriend's dad was helping me with my car buying decision. He owned a thriving transmission repair business and had been a mechanic his whole life, and he alsorestored many vintage cars as a hobby. At that time he owned 15 Model T's andModel A's, a 36 Packard and a 57T-Bird. I had my mind set on this 1970 Mustang I had found, but he tried to steer me to another car that was on a friend's lot. I can't recall what it was at the moment but it wasn't as "cool" as a Mustang, but it was obviously well cared for, everything worked and it had low miles, and would have cost me less than the Mustang, and it actually had some performance too and would have likely beat the Mustang in the 1/4 mile. I chose the Mustang anyway because that's what I was fixated on. It was a mistake. That Mustang ended up costing me a whole lot more in repairsthan the purchase price, and that was with me doing the work. I think that is probably a pretty common scenario with a teenage boy. I saw the same thing with my middle son, only in his case it was a Camaro.

John
 
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