Aging and Time-Sharing in Highway Driving

Visual attention allocation, between the road view ahead and other targets, is an essential requirement for safe driving, along with other visual and attentional performance. This article reports on a study of time-sharing (visual attention allocation) undertaken with 30 participants in 3 age groups (mean age 22, 34, and 67 years). The participants drive an instrumented car on a trip of 350 km and performed an in-car visual search task with either a motor (keying) or vocal response. The authors recorded the frequency and duration of glances at the in-car targets, total time eyes off the road during task, speed, and lateral displacement of the car. The participants were also tested on a battery of cognitive tasks during the midway break. Results showed that the older group used a longer total time looking at the in-car display and they traveled a longer distance with their eyes away from the road. The number of long (greater than 2 seconds) glances and the car's lateral displacement on the road were larger among the elderly than the young drivers. In addition, the difference between the older and younger participants was larger when a motor response was required. The age effects were mediated by cognitive performance rather than by vision parameters. The authors conclude that older drivers should compensate for their declined cognitive performance at the strategic level by avoiding self-imposed time sharing tasks while driving.

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  • Authors:
    • Wikman, Anna-Stina
    • Summala, Heikki
  • Publication Date: 2005-8


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01010575
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 26 2005 7:09AM