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Road Optical Illusion Leads to Large Settlement for California Passenger

A California man who was seriously injured when the car in which he was riding plunged off an embankment has reached a $1.6 million settlement with San Diego County.

The plaintiff claimed that the accident was caused by an optical illusion on Mussey Grade Road that fooled drivers into thinking that the road continued straight when, in fact, it curved left.

Lawyers for the plaintiff stated that a road realignment project in 1992 created an optical illusion because “drivers approaching the curve at night see a traffic signal, flashing yellow lights, as well as headlights in the distance, giving the impression that the road continues straight.”

The plaintiff also showed that there had been six collisions over a seven-year period before the accident at issue.

In January 2011, the county erected a large fence, flashing lights, and signage with warnings to counter any optical illusion. In an uncommon concession by the county, the modifications to the road were part of the settlement agreement reached between the parties.