Effect of Vehicle Body Style on Vehicle Entry/Exit Performance and Preferences of Older and Younger Drivers 2002-01-0091
This paper presents results of a study conducted to determine differences in older (over age 55) and younger (under age 35), male and female drivers while entering and exiting vehicles with three different body styles - namely, a large sedan, a minivan and a full-size pick-up truck.
Thirty-six drivers (males and females, ages 25 to 89 years) who participated in this study were first measured for their anthropometric, strength and body flexibility measures relevant to the entry/exit tasks. They were asked to first get in each vehicle and adjust their preferred seating position. Then, they were asked to get in the vehicle and their entry time was measured. Their entry maneuver was also video taped and they were asked to rate the level of ease/difficulty (using a 5-point scale) in entering. Similar procedure and measurements were conducted during their exit from each vehicle.
In addition to the expected effects of differences due to gender (males stronger than females) and decrements in strength and flexibility with increase in age, the following results were observed on the entry/exit tasks: 1) Overall, the minivan was rated as the easiest vehicle to get in and out, and the full-size pick-up was the most difficult vehicle to get in and out. 2) The shortest average entry time was 6.44 sec. for the large sedan and the shortest average exit time was 5.91 sec. for the minivan. 3) Both entry and exit performance (as measured by total time to enter) and preferences of older women were significantly worse than males and younger females.