Driving performance impairments due to hypovigilance on monotonous roads.

Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, 130 Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove 4059, Queensland, Australia.
Accident; analysis and prevention (Impact Factor: 1.65). 11/2011; 43(6):2037-46. DOI: 10.1016/j.aap.2011.05.023
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Drivers' ability to react to unpredictable events deteriorates when exposed to highly predictable and uneventful driving tasks. Highway design reduces the driving task mainly to a lane-keeping manoeuvre. Such a task is monotonous, providing little stimulation and this contributes to crashes due to inattention. Research has shown that driver's hypovigilance can be assessed with EEG measurements and that driving performance is impaired during prolonged monotonous driving tasks. This paper aims to show that two dimensions of monotony - namely road design and road side variability - decrease vigilance and impair driving performance. This is the first study correlating hypovigilance and driver performance in varied monotonous conditions, particularly on a short time scale (a few seconds). We induced vigilance decrement as assessed with an EEG during a monotonous driving simulator experiment. Road monotony was varied through both road design and road side variability. The driver's decrease in vigilance occurred due to both road design and road scenery monotony and almost independently of the driver's sensation seeking level. Such impairment was also correlated to observable measurements from the driver, the car and the environment. During periods of hypovigilance, the driving performance impairment affected lane positioning, time to lane crossing, blink frequency, heart rate variability and non-specific electrodermal response rates. This work lays the foundation for the development of an in-vehicle device preventing hypovigilance crashes on monotonous roads.

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