In this study, a cohort of 78 university students performed a driving experience in a virtual urban scenario, by means of a car driving simulator, to examine effects of a planned hands-free mobile phone conversation on young drivers' braking behaviors. To this aim, a control group was left free to drive without any imposed cognitive task. An experimental group faced the same scenario while engaged in a phone call. The conversation via earphones was arranged to diminish the amount of cognitive resources allocated to the driving task. For both groups, the analyses focused on the moment at which a child entered a pedestrian crossing from a sidewalk. The results of a mixed two-way ANOVA showed the presence of a significant difference for distracted and non-distracted drivers with the absence of gender-related differences across the two groups. Distracted participants assumed lower initial speeds, took the first action to stop at shorter distances from the zebra crossing, and had more difficulty in keeping speed variations under control. These findings suggest that the distraction induced by the use of earphones may induce risk compensation behaviors and delay pedestrian perception. Moreover, the effects on the participants' braking behavior suggest that the procedure adopted to increase cognitive load, based on a story retelling, is an effective method to analyze the impact of hands-free cellphone use on driving skills in a car simulation experiment.

Drivers' braking behavior affected by cognitive distractions: An experimental investigation with a virtual car simulator

Nicola Baldo;Andrea Marini;
2020

Abstract

In this study, a cohort of 78 university students performed a driving experience in a virtual urban scenario, by means of a car driving simulator, to examine effects of a planned hands-free mobile phone conversation on young drivers' braking behaviors. To this aim, a control group was left free to drive without any imposed cognitive task. An experimental group faced the same scenario while engaged in a phone call. The conversation via earphones was arranged to diminish the amount of cognitive resources allocated to the driving task. For both groups, the analyses focused on the moment at which a child entered a pedestrian crossing from a sidewalk. The results of a mixed two-way ANOVA showed the presence of a significant difference for distracted and non-distracted drivers with the absence of gender-related differences across the two groups. Distracted participants assumed lower initial speeds, took the first action to stop at shorter distances from the zebra crossing, and had more difficulty in keeping speed variations under control. These findings suggest that the distraction induced by the use of earphones may induce risk compensation behaviors and delay pedestrian perception. Moreover, the effects on the participants' braking behavior suggest that the procedure adopted to increase cognitive load, based on a story retelling, is an effective method to analyze the impact of hands-free cellphone use on driving skills in a car simulation experiment.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11390/1193863
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