This study was carried out to obtain information of the manner in which the beam pattern of headlamps which provide meeting beams affect the way in which drivers obtain visual information in night driving. By comparing the eye fixations of the drivers in night driving, with the various beams, with their eye fixations in daytime on the same road, inferences were made as to the extent to which different meeting beams allow drivers to obtain information from important aspects of the roadway scene. The results can be used to describe basic characteristics of suitable meeting beam patterns. Two drivers drove an automobile in the daytime and at night using American and European low beam headlamps and an experimental mid beam. The eye fixations of the drivers were measured, using a silicon diode TV camera and light reflection from the cornea. Superimposition of the corneal light reflection upon the image of the roadway scene allowed recordings to be made of the eye fixations of drivers on the two-lane road course. Comparisons between the eye fixations used in daytime and at night showed that dwell time was longer when looking straight ahead at night than in the daytime, and that there was a reduction in the proportion of the viewing time devoted to the left lane at night than in the day, when there was no oncoming vehicle. Drivers looked at approaching vehicles in both day and night conditions with glance durations of intermediate lengths, which increased in frequency as the separation distance between the vehicles decreased. At night, preview distances were less than in the day. The characteristics shift of the eye fixations in the direction taken by the road was found in this study, in both day and night driving. At night the eye fixations were influenced by the characteristics of the beam pattern being used. On left curves the American and European low beams provided the eye fixations which most closely resembled those used in daytime. On straight sections and particularly on right curves the mid beam provided the most compatible districution of glances. It was suggested that an improved meeting beam should incorporated characteristics of the European low beam, to provide illumination to the left of the lane, and those of the mid beam to provide greater visibility along the lane and to the right of it.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Sponsored by Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Highway Safety Research Institute

    Huron Parkway and Baxter Road
    Ann Arbor, MI  United States  48109
  • Authors:
    • Mortimer, R G
    • Jorgeson, C M
  • Publication Date: 1974-11-7

Media Info

  • Features: Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 28 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00099586
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Highway Safety Research Institute
  • Report/Paper Numbers: UM-HSRI-HF-74-17 Final Rpt.
  • Contract Numbers: UM 7102-C128
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 5 1975 12:00AM