Browse Publications Technical Papers 2020-01-1198
2020-04-14

Driver Perception of Lateral Collision Threats 2020-01-1198

Drivers presented with a collision threat must assess the likelihood of confrontation and determine if the threat warrants evasive action. The nature of the threat’s movement is critical in assessing a collision threat; however, the influence this visual information on driver behaviour is not well understood. A study was conducted to examine driver hazard perception of laterally-intruding vehicles. Seventeen subjects viewed first-person perspective recordings of a simulated vehicle travelling down a two-lane roadway consisting of several intersections with stop-controlled minor roads. Stopped vehicles were located at approximately half of the minor road intersections. Throughout the study, some of the stopped vehicles accelerated into the subject’s lane of travel at 1 of 6 pre-determined acceleration rates. Subjects were instructed to ‘brake’ their vehicle by pressing the space bar on a keyboard as soon as they perceived that a collision was imminent. Subject responses were measured as the elapsed time between the intruder’s first motion and the initiation of ‘braking’. Subject reaction time (determined using a simple reaction test) was deducted from their overall response to establish how soon after the intruder’s first motion it became perceived as a collision hazard. The results indicate that subjects’ points of hazard detection were directly influenced by the intruding vehicles’ acceleration rate. Intruding vehicles accelerating at higher rates were perceived as collision threats sooner and when further away from the subject’s path of travel than slower-accelerating intruders. To the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to quantify the relationship between acceleration levels of laterally intruding vehicles and driver hazard detection. Such findings will aid those in the forensic engineering industry to better analyze driver behaviour during emergency situations, and will also have implications in autonomous vehicle design in developing collision avoidance systems that can outperform human capabilities while better aligning with human comfort levels.

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