Effects of a Simulation-Based Training Intervention on Novice Drivers' Hazard Handling Performance

Young novice drivers are overrepresented in crash rates during their first few months of driving. The dramatic drop afterwards implies that some important skills of safe driving are learned during this period. In an attempt to help novice drivers acquire higher-order perceptual and cognitive skills for safe driving, a training intervention based on driving simulation was developed, tested, and evaluated. Eight virtual driving scenarios (four equivalent and four analogical) were developed for road hazard handling training, and another eight scenarios were developed for subsequent formal testing. Two groups of novice drivers were recruited to test and compare their road hazard handling performance. The trained group received training treatment 6 weeks before testing, whereas the untrained group had no prior training except a basic driving skill exercise. The comprehensive training intervention included simulated driving in eight virtual scenarios, then feedback of their own hazard handling performance, and finally watching the playback video of an experienced driver's handling of each road hazard. Road hazard handling performance scores were significantly higher for the trained group and the training effect was greater for equivalent scenarios than for analogical ones. The trained drivers anticipated potential hazards in advance to a larger extent than the untrained, as indicated by both earlier speed reduction and subjective self-report data when approaching the hazards. Subjective mental workload of the trained drivers was significantly lower in completing the simulated driving task. The tested comprehensive training intervention has shown positive effects in improving novice drivers' abilities to anticipate, recognize, and deal with hazards in simulated driving. Performance of the trained drivers with different starting levels converged to a relatively high level after training.


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  • Accession Number: 01157710
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 23 2010 12:26PM