Self-Awareness of Impairment and the Decision to Drive After an Extended Period of Wakefulness

The ability to predict and be aware of the potential impairment caused by fatigue in terms of driving capability is important for potential legal liability and road safety. This article reports on a study of self-awareness of this type of impairment and the decisionmaking process that drivers go through after they have experienced an extended period of wakefulness. Research has demonstrated that individuals rate themselves as better than the population average in a number of domains, including driving-related skills. Therefore, this study also compared the self-ratings of the individuals to ratings that they made of a hypothetical other person under the same conditions. In the study, 32 participants remained awake for a period of 40 hours. Every 2 h, they completed the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT) and rated on a seven-point scale how well they thought they could drive safely, react quickly in an emergency, and stay in their own lane. They were also asked to assess how they thought someone else in their own position could drive. The participants rated their driving ability as becoming significantly poorer at the same time that their PVT performance became significantly slower. The authors note that previous studies with a similar protocol demonstrated that under these conditions of lack of sleep, individuals exhibit performance decrement equivalent to someone with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05%. Participants consistently rated the ability of others to drive as poorer than their own. The authors conclude that the related concern in terms of road safety is potential overconfidence, indicated by rating others consistently poorer than themselves.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Jones, Christopher B
    • Dorrian, Jillian
    • Jay, Sarah M
    • Lamond, Nicole
    • Ferguson, Sally
    • Dawson, Drew
  • Publication Date: 2006


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: pp 1253-1263
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01050112
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 29 2007 12:09PM