Sleepiness and hazard perception while driving

Smith, Simon S., Horswill, Mark, Chambers, Brooke, & Wetton, Mark (2009) Sleepiness and hazard perception while driving. Road Safety Grant Report, 2009-001. Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

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Young drivers are involved disproportionately in serious vehicle crashes, and are involved disproportionately in sleepiness-related crashes. Specific difficulties in perceiving road hazards, and further impairment of this skill when sleepy, may contribute to this problem in young and inexperienced drivers. Perception, and response, to potential driving hazards is typically better in experienced drivers than in inexperienced drivers. However, the relationship between driver experience and sleepiness is not known. A sample of 34 young, and inexperienced, drivers (aged 17-24 years, with less than three years driving experience) and 33 older, and experienced, drivers (aged 28-36 years, with at least ten years driving experience) completed a video-based hazard perception task, in which they were instructed to anticipate a range of genuine traffic conflicts filmed locally. Their average response time to the traffic conflicts was calculated. Drivers were either tested at a time of increased sleepiness (3am) or at a point of decreased sleepiness (10am). As expected, the young, inexperienced drivers were significantly slower at identifying hazards than were the older, experienced drivers. While no overall effect of sleepiness on hazard perception was found, inexperienced drivers were slower on this measure at night. It appears that the hazard perception skills of the older, more experienced, drivers were relatively unaffected by mild increases in sleepiness while the hazard perception skills of the younger, inexperienced drivers, were significantly slowed by a mild increase in sleepiness. The results may explain the increased risk of driving while sleepy for young adult drivers. Sleepiness impairs elements of driving performance that are critical to safe driving, including hazard perception.

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ID Code: 15681
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Additional Information: For more information about this book please contact the author.
Additional URLs:
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Sensory Processes Perception and Performance (170112)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > TRANSPORTATION AND FREIGHT SERVICES (150700) > Road Transportation and Freight Services (150703)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 The University of Queensland
Deposited On: 21 Nov 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2014 05:36

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