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Limitations in drivers' ability to recognize pedestrians at night

Wood, Joanne M., Tyrrell, Richard A., & Carberry, Trent P. (2005) Limitations in drivers' ability to recognize pedestrians at night. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 47(3), pp. 644-653.

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Abstract

This study quantified drivers' ability to recognize pedestrians at night. Ten young and 10 older participants drove around a closed road circuit and responded when they first recognized a pedestrian. Four pedestrian clothing and two beam conditions were tested. Results demonstrate that driver age, clothing configuration, headlamp beam, and glare all significantly affect performance. Drivers recognized only 5% of pedestrians in the most challenging condition (low beams, black clothing, glare), whereas drivers recognized 100% of the pedestrians who wore retroreflective clothing configured to depict biological motion (no glare). In the absence of glare, mean recognition distances varied from 0.0 m (older drivers, low beam, black clothing) to 220 m (722 feet; younger drivers, high beam, retroreflective biomotion). These data provide new motivation to minimize interactions between vehicular and pedestrian traffic at night and suggest garment designs to maximize pedestrian conspicuity when these interactions are unavoidable.

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44 citations in Scopus
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25 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 8301
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Automobile drivers, Pedestrians, Traffic accidents & safety, Automobile driving, Eyes & eyesight
DOI: 10.1518/001872005774859980
ISSN: 1547-8181
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY (111300) > Vision Science (111303)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Deposited On: 28 Jun 2007
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 01:27

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