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Technical Paper

Fog Lamps: Frequency of Installation and Nature of Use

1997-02-24
970657
The goal of this study was to provide information about the frequency of installation and use of fog lamps. Two surveys were performed. In the first one, installation of fog lamps was estimated by a survey of parked vehicles in two iarge shopping centers. The second survey studied the usage of fog lamps during daytime and nighttime, under clear, rainy, or foggy conditions. In this survey, an observer in a moving vehicle noted the types of lamps that were energized on the fronts of oncoming vehicles, and whether fog lamps were installed at all. The main findings are: (1) The best estimate of the current frequency of installation of fog lamps in southeast Michigan is about 13%. (2) During daytime, the usage of fog lamps increased with deterioration in atmospheric conditions, with the usage reaching 50% of all installed fog lamps during moderate-to-heavy fog.
Technical Paper

Effects of Large-Radius Convex Rearview Mirrors on Driver Perception

1997-02-24
970910
The U.S. currently requires that reai-view mirrors installed as original equipment in the center and driver-side positions be flat. There has recently been interest in using nonplanar mirrors in those positions, including possibly mirrors with large radii (over 2 m). This has provided additional motivation to understand the effects of mirror curvature on drivers' perceptions of distance and speed. This paper addresses this issue by (1) reviewing the concepts from perceptual theory that are most relevant to predicting and understanding how drivers judge distance in nonplanar rearview mirrors, and (2) reviewing the past empirical studies that have manipulated mirror curvature and measured some aspect of distance perception. The effects of mirror curvature on cues for distance perception do not lead to simple predictions. The most obvious model is one based on visual angle, according to which convex mirrors should generally lead to overestimation of distances.
Technical Paper

Driver Perceptual Adaptation to Nonplanar Rearview Mirrors

1996-02-01
960791
This study examined perceptual adaptation to nonplanar (spherical convex and aspheric) rearview mirrors. Subjects made magnitude estimates of the distance to a car seen in a rearview mirror. Three different mirrors were used: plane, aspheric (with a large spherical section having a radius of 1400 mm), and simple convex (with a radius of 1000 mm). Previous research relevant to perceptual adaptation to nonplanar mirrors was reviewed. It was argued that, in spite of some cases of explicit interest in the process of learning to use nonplanar mirrors, previous research has not adequately addressed the possibility of perceptual adaptation. The present experiment involved three phases: (1) a pretest phase in which subjects made distance judgments but received no feedback, (2) a training phase in which they made judgments and did receive feedback, and (3) a posttest phase with the same procedure as the pretest phase.
Technical Paper

A Field Study of Distance Perception with Large-Radius Convex Rearview Mirrors

1998-02-23
980916
One of the primary reasons that FMVSS 111 currently requires flat rearview mirrors as original equipment on the driver's side of passenger cars is a concern that convex mirrors might reduce safety by causing drivers to overestimate the distances to following vehicles. Several previous studies of the effects of convex rearview mirrors have indicated that they do cause overestimations of distance, but of much lower magnitude than would be expected based on the mirrors' levels of image minification and the resulting visual angles experienced by drivers. Previous studies have investigated mirrors with radiuses of curvature up to 2000 mm. The present empirical study was designed to investigate the effects of mirrors with larger radiuses (up to 8900 mm). Such results are of interest because of the possible use of large radiuses in some aspheric mirror designs, and because of the information they provide about the basic mechanisms by which convex mirrors affect distance perception.
Technical Paper

On-the-Road Visual Performance with Electrochromic Rearview Mirrors

1995-02-01
950600
This study was part of a series of studies on variable-reflectance rearview mirrors. Previous work included laboratory studies of human visual performance, field collection of photometric data, and mathematical modeling of the visual benefits of variable-reflectance mirrors. We extended that work in this study by collecting photometric and human-performance data while subjects drove in actual traffic. Three mirror conditions were investigated: (1) fixed-reflectance mirrors in the center and driver-side positions, (2) a variable-reflectance mirror in the center with a fixed-reflectance mirror on the driver side, and (3) variable-reflectance mirrors in both positions. The fixed and variable reflectivities were produced by the same mirrors by overriding the circuitry that normally controlled reflectance in the variable mode.
Technical Paper

A Market-Weighted Description of Low-Beam Headlighting Patterns in the U.S.

1998-02-23
980317
This study was designed to provide photometric information about current U.S. low-beam headlamps. The sample included 35 low-beam headlamps manufactured for use on the 23 best-selling passenger cars, light trucks, and vans for model year 1997. These 23 vehicles represent 45% of all vehicles sold in the U.S. The lamps were purchased directly from vehicle dealerships, and photometered in 0.5° steps from 45° left to 45° right, and from 5° down to 7° up. The photometric information for each lamp was weighted by 1997 sales figures for the corresponding vehicle. The results are presented both in tabular form for the 25th-percentile, the median (50th-percentile), and the 75th-percentile luminous intensities, as well as in graphical form (for the median luminous intensities, and median illuminance values reaching the road surface). The information is presented in aggregate form, as well as broken down by vehicle type and light source.
Technical Paper

Rearview Mirror Reflectivity and the Quality of Distance Information Available to Drivers

1993-03-01
930721
In two experiments, we examined the possibility that rearview mirror reflectivity influences drivers' perceptions of the distance to following vehicles. In the first experiment, subjects made magnitude estimates of the distance to a vehicle seen in a variable-reflectance rearview mirror. Reflectivity had a significant effect on the central tendency of subjects' judgments: distance estimates were greater when reflectivity was lower. There was no effect of reflectivity on the variability of judgments. In the second experiment, subjects were required to decide, under time pressure, whether a vehicle viewed in a variable-reflectance rearview mirror had been displaced toward them or away from them when they were shown two views of the vehicle in quick succession. We measured the speed and accuracy of their responses. Mirror reflectivity did not affect speed or accuracy, but it did cause a bias in the type of errors that subjects made.
Technical Paper

Quantifying the Direct Field of View when Using Driver-Side Rearview Mirrors

1999-03-01
1999-01-0656
In a static field study we tested drivers’ abilities to detect vehicles in the periphery of their direct fields of view while they gazed toward the driver-side exterior rearview mirror of a passenger car. The results indicate that both younger and older drivers can detect vehicles with reasonable efficiency even in far peripheral vision. However, the results also indicate that using peripheral vision entails a cost in terms of lengthened reaction time. Although that cost seems modest in comparison with the normal durations of glances to rearview mirrors and of direct looks to the rear, it is not clear from this study alone how the reaction time cost might influence the scanning strategies that drivers actually use in driving. The present study was oriented more to testing drivers’ basic visual capabilities than to outlining their overall strategies.
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