Crazy Car Drivers, Bad Habits & Road Rage

Driver inattention has been identified as one of the leading causes for car accidents. The problem of distraction while driving is likely to worsen, partly due to increasingly complex in-car technologies. However, intelligent transport systems are being developed to assist drivers and to ensure a safe road environment. One approach to the design of ergonomic automobile systems is to integrate our understanding of the human information processing systems into the design process .Multisensory interactions and the spatial distribution of attention in driving. The Multisensory Driver provides interface design guidelines together with a detailed review of current cognitive neuroscience and behavioral research in multisensory human perception, which will help the development of ergonomic interfaces. The discussion on spatial attention is particularly relevant for car interface designers, but it will also appeal to cognitive psychologists interested in spatial attention and the applications of these theoretical research findings. Giving a detailed description of a cohesive series of psychophysical experiments on multisensory warning signals, conducted in both laboratory and simulator settings, this book provides an approach for those in the engineering discipline who wish to test their systems with human observers

Humans are inherently limited capacity creatures; that is, they are able to process only a small amount of the sensory information that is typically available at any given time Although it is unclear what the exact nature of this limited capacity is, the inability of humans to simultaneously process multiple sources of sensory information places a number of important constraints on their attentional processing of stimuli both in the laboratory and in a number of real-life settings

Driven to Listen

One of the most common non-essential activities that people engage in while driving is listening to the radio Although research has shown that listening to the radio, or music in general, can affect people’s mood and other aspects of their cognitive performance in both a positive and negative manner only limited efforts have been made to extend these findings to the domain of driving. In particular, few studies have attempted to understand whether any systematic conclusions or generalizations can be drawn concerning the effect of listening to the radio on driver performance, and above all, on car accident rates.

The Auditory Spatial Cuing of Driver Attention

Recent evidence from both behavioral and electrophysiological studies suggests that human performance on a variety of visual tasks can be facilitated by the presentation of an auditory cue from the same location as the visual stimuli shortly beforehand, even when the auditory cue does not provide any information about the visual task itself. It thus seems plausible to extend these robust findings concerning the ability of spatial auditory cues to exogenously capture a person’s visual attention in the laboratory setting to the design of multisensory interfaces, for instance, in the domain of developing effective warning signals for car drivers.

The Vibrotactile Spatial Cuing of Driver Attention

The human skin constitutes about 18 per cent of our body mass, yet the importance of our sense of touch in driving has frequently been overlooked in the past. Recently, however, there has been a rapid growth of interest, both theoretical and commercial, in the potential use of tactile interfaces in a variety of applied environments this recent growth of interest has been driven, in part, by the increasing visual overload reported by interface users. As a result, many researchers have started to investigate the implementation of tactile devices into contemporary interface design in an attempt to share the workload exerted on our visual systems. A number of different tactile applications have been tested in a wide range of user environments such as, for example: tactile-visual sensory substitution (TVSS) systems to provide information to assist visually-impaired individuals navigational aids to provide directional or way-finding information to pilots and drivers tactile orientation awareness displays for use in altered sensory environments such as in microgravity environments or while deep-sea diving and haptic virtual reality displays that can, in some sense, simulate the sensation of touch evaluated 89 of the most critical on-the-road behaviors in terms of the sensory modality that was required for their occurrence. Interestingly, 27 of these behaviors depended on input from more than one sense.

The Multisensory Perceptual versus Decisional Facilitation of Driving

The potential use of non-visual warning signals to present spatial information to car drivers has been successfully demonstrated. The empirical research reported suggests that spatial warning signals can be used to improve a person’s ability to detect, and subsequently to respond to, events occurring in the direction from which the cue, or warning signal, is presented. Among the two types of spatial warning signals investigated, spatial auditory cues were found to be particularly effective in directing a driver’s visual spatial attention to potentially dangerous events on the road. Such warning signals should hopefully be particularly useful in reorienting the attention of a driver who has been distracted by a secondary task, such as talking on the mobile phone or to a passenger. However, given that the spatial cuing effects were measured at the behavioral level, it is unclear what the factors are that govern the difference in the relative effectiveness of the two types of cue. The Multisensory Spatial Cuing of Driver Attention
The last decade has seen a number of important developments in the field of interface design. In particular, there has been a very noticeable shift away from the traditional focus on unimodal systems to multimodal systems that hold the promise of potentially providing users with more integrated or enriched multisensory experiences in both the real world and in virtual environments. However, the proliferation of multimodal interfaces has often occurred without a proper consideration of the fundamental limitations, as well as capabilities, of human multisensory information-. Meanwhile, many researchers have become increasingly interested in the study of the underlying rules that govern how users perceive the various channels of information presented via a multimodal interface. In particular, some researchers have attempted to better understand how to approach the design of the next generation of multisensory interfaces. Consequently, there is an increasing need to refine multimodal design guidelines and principles in order that they meet the needs and actual capabilities of human users.

The feasibility and potential effectiveness of applying the theoretical insights from the growing body of research concerning the existence of cross modal links in spatial attention between various different sensory modalities to the design of non-visual and multisensory warning signals in driving, to improve safety on the road. In particular, we have been able to show that the spatial properties inherent in certain auditory cues (either attributable to the localizable sound cues being presented spatially, or because of the informational content of verbal cues) can be used to improve the efficacy of a driver’s responses to target visual driving events presented subsequently in the cued direction. In addition, facilitator spatial cuing effects were extended from the use of auditory cues to the use of tactile cues. On the basis of the robust laboratory-based evidence regarding the beneficial effects of spatial cuing in driving, a driving simulator study was conducted that further demonstrated the significant improvement in drivers’ reactions to front-to-rear-end collisions with the aid of vibrotactile cues that indicated the likely direction of the potential dangerous driving events. In particular, the performance benefit recorded in the driving simulator (a 400 MS reduction in braking latencies when compared to the no warning condition that is typical in the majority of cars today) was much larger than that reported in our laboratory-based driving studies.

The contribution of driver experience to risk for alcohol-related crashes is based on the tacit assumption that driver experience contributes to driver skill which could mediate the impairing effects of alcohol on driving performance. Surprisingly, few studies of alcohol effects on simulated driving performance have examined the role of driver skill as a mediator of the intensity of alcohol impairment. The present study examined the degree to which individual differences in driving skill mediated the intensity of impairment produced by a moderate dose of alcohol in a group of young adult drivers. Twenty-eight participants were familiarized with a simulated driving road test. After determining their baseline skill level, participants’ driving performance was re-tested under either an active dose of alcohol (0.65 g/kg) or a placebo. Results showed that alcohol reduced driving precision, as evident by the increased within-lane deviation observed under the drug. Moreover, those individuals with poorer baseline skill levels showed the greater impairments in response to alcohol. The results highlight the importance of understanding interactions between driver skill level and the effects of alcohol and possibly other drugs. Drug and alcohol use among drivers admitted to a Level-1 trauma center

Bad Habits of crazy drivers

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol

NHTSA data paints a clear picture: drunk driving causes accidents. The majority of traffic-related deaths are caused by drunk drivers. It’s a well-known fact that alcohol impairs your ability to drive, and more importantly, to react. So follow common-sense guidelines like taking a taxi or using a designated driver if you’re planning a booze-fueled night on the town. Doing so can avoid tragic consequences. As laws governing the use of marijuana become relaxed in some places, it too has the potential to become a bigger part of the traffic accident statistical mix. You may think you’re good at driving high, but chances are that you aren’t. Law enforcement officers trained to look for signs of impairment will explain this as they lead you to the back seat of their patrol car

Driving tired

Drowsy driving is every bit as dangerous as drunk driving. When your body needs sleep, it’s going to get it, one way or another. People who insist on driving when they should stop for a rest will have slower reaction times and are likely to fall asleep at the wheel. The results usually aren’t pretty. Drivers who are sleepy or asleep tend to crash on high-speed roads, and they usually don’t do anything to avoid the crash in the moments before impact. The problem is such that some luxury automakers have introduced driver aids intended to combat drowsy driving. So if you feel yourself nodding off, pull off the road and grab a few Zs someplace safe. You might get home later than planned, but that’s a small trade-off for your safety and that of the drivers sharing the road with you.


Speeding is the second leading cause of traffic fatalities after drunk driving. According to a 2005 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “The relationship between vehicle speed and crash severity is unequivocal and based on the laws of physics.” There you have it: the faster you go, the more likely it is you’ll be pulverized in a crash. An object in motion, and so forth. Even though they may sometimes feel arbitrary, posted speed limits exist for a reason. The IIHS study also points out that the likelihood of a crash increases when a driver goes above or below the average speed on a given roadway. When everyone travels at the same general speed, things are more predictable, and the road is safer as a result.

Distracted driving

You know the drill. Shave/put your makeup on at home, and turn off the cell phone while you’re driving. NHTSA estimates that there are 660,000 distracted drivers on the road most of the time. The federal government has responded by pressuring state governments to ban texting and driving, eating and driving, and all other activities that take motorists’ eyes and minds away from the road. How many times in the past week have you looked into someone’s car at an intersection only to see that they couldn’t see you, because they were on the phone and/or yelling at their kids? Distracted drivers are an example of why some people think autonomous, self-driving cars are a swell idea, so don’t give those people any more ammo.

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