What happens when drivers face hazards on the road?

The current study aims to obtain knowledge about the nature of the processes involved in Hazard Perception, using measurement techniques to separate and independently quantify these suspected sub-processes: Sensation, Situation Awareness (recognition, location and projection) and decision-making. It applies Signal Detection Theory analysis to Hazard Perception and Prediction Tasks. To enable the calculation of Signal Detection Theory parameters, video-recorded hazardous vs. quasi-hazardous situations were presented to the participants. In the hazardous situations it is necessary to perform an evasive action, for instance, braking or swerving abruptly, while the quasi-hazardous situations do not require the driver to make any evasive manoeuvre, merely to carry on driving at the same speed and following the same trajectory. A first Multiple Choice Hazard Perception and Prediction test was created to measure participants’ performance in a What Happens Next? Task. The sample comprised 143 participants, 47 females and 94 males. Groups of non-offender drivers (learner, novice and experienced) and offender drivers (novice and experienced) were recruited. The Multiple Choice Hazard Perception and Prediction test succeeded in finding differences between drivers according to their driving experience. In fact, differences exist with regard to the level of hazard discrimination (d' prime) by drivers with different experience (learner, novice and experienced drivers) and profile (offenders and non-offenders) and these differences emerge from Signal Detection Theory analysis. In addition, it was found that experienced drivers show higher Situation Awareness than learner or novice drivers. On the other hand, although offenders do worse than non-offenders on the hazard identification question, they do just as well when their Situation Awareness is probed (in fact, they are as aware as non-offenders of what the obstacles on the road are, where they are and what will happen next). Nevertheless, when considering the answers participants provided about their degree of cautiousness, experienced drivers were more cautious than novice drivers, and non-offender drivers were more cautious than offender drivers. That is, a greater number of experienced and non-offender drivers chose the answer “I would make an evasive manoeuvre such as braking gradually”.


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  • Accession Number: 01596941
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 12 2016 9:42AM