Driver experience and cognitive workload in different traffic environments

Stockholm University, Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden
Accident Analysis & Prevention (Impact Factor: 1.87). 10/2006; 38(5):887-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.aap.2006.02.014
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT How do levels of cognitive workload differ between experienced and inexperienced drivers? In this study we explored cognitive workload and driver experience, using a secondary task method, the peripheral detection task (PDT) in a field study. The main results showed a large and statistically significant difference in cognitive workload levels between experienced and inexperienced drivers. Inexperienced, low mileage drivers had on average approximately 250 milliseconds (ms) longer reaction times to a peripheral stimulus, than the experienced drivers. It would, therefore, appear that drivers with better training and experience were able to automate the driving task more effectively than their less experienced counterparts in accordance with theoretical psychological models. It has been suggested that increased training and experience may provide attention resource savings that can benefit the driver in handling new or unexpected traffic situations.

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