Browse Publications Technical Papers 2013-01-1260
2013-04-08

Evaluation of an Automotive Simulator Based Driver Safety Training Program for Run-Off-the-Road and Recovery 2013-01-1260

Despite the growing acceptance of driver education programs, there remains a class of unpredictable and dangerous vehicle situations for which very little training or education is offered. Included in this list is a condition called run-off-the-road (ROR) which occurs when the wheels of the vehicle leave the paved surface of the road and begin to travel on the lower friction surfaces of the shoulder or side of the road. Unsuccessful recovery from ROR contributes to an overwhelming percentage of motorized vehicle crash fatalities and injuries. Most present solutions involve roadway infrastructure management and driver assistance systems. While these solutions have contributed varying amounts of success to the ROR problem, they remain limited as they do not directly address the critical cause of ROR crashes which is driver performance errors. More advanced vehicle controllers have been developed to autonomously control the driver's inputs; however, such designs are premature for commercial production. In this paper, an automotive simulator based ROR training program has been developed to instruct drivers on how to perform a safe and effective recovery from ROR. A pilot study, involving seventeen human subject participants, was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the training program and whether the participants' ROR recovery skills increased following the training. Based on specific evaluation criteria and a developed scoring system it was shown that drivers did learn from the training program and were able to better utilize proper recovery methods. The pilot study also revealed that drivers improved their recovery scores by an average of 78%.

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