How Do Drivers Avoid Collisions? A Driving Simulator-Based Study

Drivers' collision avoidance performance in an impending collision situation plays a decisive role for safety outcomes. This study explored drivers' collision avoidance performances in three typical collision scenarios that were right-angle collision, head-on collision, and collision with pedestrian. A high-fidelity driving simulator was used to design the scenarios and conduct the experiment. 45 participants took part in the simulator experiment. Drivers' longitudinal/lateral collision avoidance performances and collision result were recorded. Experimental results showed that brake only was the most common response among the three collision scenarios, followed by brake combining swerve in head-on and pedestrian collision scenarios. In right-angle collision scenario with TTC (time to collision) largest among three scenarios, no driver swerved, and meanwhile drivers who showed slow brake reaction tended to compensate the collision risk by taking a larger maximum deceleration rate within a shorter time. Swerve-toward-conflict was a prevalent phenomenon in head-on and pedestrian collision scenarios and significantly associated with collision risk. Drivers that swerved toward the conflict object had a shorter swerve reaction time than drivers that swerved away from conflict. Long brake reaction time and wrong swerve direction were the main factors leading to a high collision likelihood. The swerve-toward-conflict maneuver caused a delay in brake action and degraded subsequent braking performances. The prevalent phenomenon indicated that drivers tended to use an intuitive (heuristic) way to make decisions in critical traffic situations. The study generated a better understanding of collision development and shed lights on the design of future advanced collision avoidance systems for semi-automated vehicles. Manufactures should also engage more efforts in developing active steering assistance systems to assist drivers in collision avoidance.


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  • Accession Number: 01711696
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 3 2019 3:05PM