ABSTRACT: The aim of this experiment was to study drivers' performance when confronted with a critical crash avoidance situation. Subjects were asked to cover three laps of a private circuit (4 min per lap), respecting speed limits. During the last lap, an inflated dummy car, placed at an intersection, was pulled onto the traffic lane. The synchronization signal releasing the obstacle was triggered to make the braking distance too short, thus requiring subjects to brake and turn the driving wheel simultaneously. Before driving, subjects completed the Stroop color-word test. Skin conductance (SC) was recorded continuously, before and during driving. Subjects who performed the least well also performed the least well to Stroop test. The SC level showed that subjects avoiding the obstacle were more aroused than those who crashed into the dummy car. Performance to Stroop test and physiological arousal were thus shown to be determining factors in management of a critical driving situation.
Biological Psychology 06/2005; 69(2):195-203. · 3.22 Impact Factor