EMF Health-effects Research

Perceptual and attentional effects on drivers' speed selection at curves.

Charlton SG

Accid Anal Prev. 36(5):877-884, 2004

This paper describes an experiment comparing the relative effectiveness of various types of warnings on drivers' speed selection at curves. The experiment compared three types of curve warnings across three different curve types in a driving simulator.

All of the warnings worked reasonably well for severe curves (45 km/h), regardless of demands from a secondary (cell phone) task. For less demanding curves, only those warnings with a strong perceptual component (i.e., implicit cues) were effective in reducing drivers' curve speeds in the presence of the cell phone task.

The design implications of these data appear straightforward; curve warnings that contain perceptual components or emphasise the physical features of the curve work best, particularly in cognitively demanding situations. The cell phone task added to driver workload and drivers became less responsive to primary task demands (i.e., speeds were elevated and reaction times were longer).

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