The thing to consider is not that the driver might have reacted faster than the car, the thing to consider is that some people in this discussion believe a human driver is superior because he or she can slow down after they’ve recognized the potential for a hazard, while an automated car might not slow down until it perceives a hazard.
In other words, some of the users here claim they would have been going slower than the automated car to begin with, having assessed the risk of a blind spot at night. That is what I think this driver should have done. He should have overridden the automated controls after recognizing there was a blind spot in front of him, a potential hazard. That’s what I would have done, and based on the comments above, that is what several others would have done.
When I was in truck driving school, we were told a story. For all I know, it might be a myth, but the lesson stuck with me:
A man and his children were parked on the shoulder of a highway in their car. The man was suicidal, and was waiting for a semi to come along so he could pull out in front of it. As a semi approached, the driver saw the parked car, but did not react. The driver pulled in front of the semi and all but one of the children died. That surviving child testified in court or a deposition that the father was attempting to kill them all by deliberately pulling in front of the tractor-trailer. Nonetheless, the court held the professional truck driver liable for the collision, because he saw the car, recognized the potential hazard, and had the ability to change lanes before he got near the car on the shoulder, but he didn’t move over.
There are now laws that mandate you move over to the next lane if there is an emergency vehicle on the shoulder, but truck drivers are instructed to move over for any vehicle parked on the shoulder if they are able to do so, and they should slow down if they’re not able to get over, just like we are supposed to do for emergency vehicles. Even though I am no longer a truck driver, I still do this when I can safely get over, and it’s saved my butt more than a couple times when some idiot pulled onto the highway without accelerating on the shoulder first.
All drivers should scan ahead for potential hazards, but that goes double for those who drive professionally, even if they’re monitoring an automated vehicle. That’s their job, and that’s why I think this driver is largely responsible, not because he should have been able to react faster than the car, but because he should have been actively assessing potential hazards and reacting as if he was driving the car himself.