Modest visual impairments and headlamp glare reduce pedestrian visability at night

Wood, Joanne M., Tyrrell, Richard A., Chaparro, Alex, Marszalek, Ralph P., Carberry, Trent P., & Chu, Byoung Sun (2010) Modest visual impairments and headlamp glare reduce pedestrian visability at night. In Transportation Research Board 89th Annual Meeting 2010 (CD-ROM), Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, USA .

View at publisher


Background: This study investigated the effects of experimentally induced visual impairment, headlamp glare and clothing on pedestrian visibility. Methods: 28 young adults (M=27.6±4.7 yrs) drove around a closed road circuit at night while pedestrians walked in place at the roadside. Pedestrians wore either black clothing, black clothing with a rectangular vest consisting of 1325 cm2 of retroreflective tape, or the same amount of tape positioned on the extremities in a configuration that conveyed biological motion (“biomotion”). Visual impairment was induced by goggles containing either blurring lenses, simulated cataracts, or clear lenses; visual acuity for the cataract and blurred lens conditions was matched. Drivers pressed a response pad when they first recognized that a pedestrian was present. Sixteen participants drove around the circuit in the presence of headlamp glare while twelve drove without glare. Results: Visual impairment, headlamp glare and pedestrian clothing all significantly affected drivers’ ability to recognize pedestrians (p<0.05). The simulated cataracts were more disruptive than blur, even though acuity was matched across the two manipulations. Pedestrians were recognized more often and at longer distances when they wore “biomotion” clothing than either the vest or black clothing, even in the presence of visual impairment and glare. Conclusions: Drivers’ ability to see and respond to pedestrians at night is degraded by modest visual impairments even when vision meets driver licensing requirements; glare further exacerbates these effects. Clothing that includes retroreflective tape in a biological motion configuration is relatively robust to visual impairment and glare.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 39781
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Darkness, Glare, Night visibility, Night vision, Pedestrain safety, Protective clothing, Retroreflectivity, Vision disorders, Visually impaired persons
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 please consult the authors
Deposited On: 01 Feb 2011 01:34
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2013 13:51

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page