The Effects of Momentary Visual Disruption on Hazard Anticipation in Driving

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Proceedings of the 7th International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design : driving assessment 2013, Vol: 7, Page: 558-564

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Borowsky, Avinoam; Horrey, William J; Liang, Yulan; Garabet, Angela; Simmons, Lucinda; Fisher, Donald L
The University of Iowa; University of Iowa
conference paper description
Driver distraction is known to increase crashes, especially when the driver glances for especially long periods of time inside the vehicle. While it is clear that such glances increase risk for the driver when looking inside the vehicle, it is less clear how these glances disrupt the ongoing processing of information outside the vehicle once the eyes return to the road. The present study was aimed at exploring the effect of visual disruptions on the top-down processes that guide the detection and monitoring of hazards on the forward roadway. Using a driving simulator, twelve participants were monitored with an eye tracking system while they navigated various hazardous scenarios. Six participants were momentarily interrupted by a visual secondary task (simulating a glance inside the vehicle) prior to the hazard occurrence and six were not. Eye movement analyses show that interrupted drivers often failed to continue scanning for a hazard when their forward view reappeared. Implications of this study are discussed.