Transportation & Vehicle Safety Policy

Human Factors Field Evaluation of Automotive Headway Maintenance/Collision Warning Devices

Dingus, T.A.; McGehee, D.V.; Manakkal, N.; Jahns, S.K.; Carney, C.; Hankey, J.M.
06/1997

Abstract

Conducted on-road studies with 108 Ss aged 18–25, 30–45, and 65 yrs and older (Study 1), 16 Ss aged 18–24 yrs (Study 2), and 40 Ss aged 18–24 yrs and 65 yrs and older (Study 3) to determine how headway maintenance and collision warning displays influence driver behavior. Visual perspective, visual perspective with a pointer, visual perspective combined with an auditory warning, discrete visual warning, and discrete auditory warning were assessed during both coupled headway and deceleration events. Results indicate that when drivers are provided with salient visual information regarding safe headways, they utilize the information and increase their headway when appropriate. Auditory warnings were less effective than visual warnings for increasing headways but may be helpful for improving reaction time during events that require deceleration. Drivers were somewhat insensitive to false alarm rates, at least during short-term use. Finally, and most important, driver headway maintenance increased by as much as 0.5 s when the appropriate visual display was used. However, a study to investigate the long- term effects of such displays on behavior is strongly recommended prior to mass marketing of headway maintenance/collision warning devices.