Effects of the road environment on the development of driver sleepiness in young male drivers

Latent driver sleepiness may in some cases be masked by for example social interaction, stress and physical activity. This short-term modulation of sleepiness may also result from environmental factors, such as when driving in stimulating environments. The aim of this study is to compare two road environments and investigate how they affect driver sleepiness. Thirty young male drivers participated in a driving simulator experiment where they drove two scenarios: a rural environment with winding roads and low traffic density, and a suburban road with higher traffic density and a more built-up roadside environment. The driving task was essentially the same in both scenarios, i.e. to stay on the road, without much interaction with other road users. A 2?×?2 design, with the conditions rural versus suburban, and daytime (full sleep) versus night-time (sleep deprived), was used. The results show that there were only minor effects of the road environment on subjective and physiological indicators of sleepiness. In contrast, there was an increase in subjective sleepiness, longer blink durations and increased EEG alpha content, both due to time on task and to night-time driving. The two road environments differed both in terms of the demand on driver action and of visual load, and the results indicate that action demand is the more important of the two factors. The notion that driver fatigue should be countered in a more stimulating visual environment such as in the city is thus more likely due to increased task demand rather than to a richer visual scenery. This should be investigated in further studies.


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  • Accession Number: 01659788
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 2 2018 3:04PM