Hazard awareness in driving: Measurement and training

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Introduction Driving is a demanding task combining complex motor and cognitive skills. A typical driving task may include maneuvering among other vehicles, paying attention to various road users (e.g., drivers and pedestrians), and discerning static and dynamic road signs and obstacles. The total amount and rate of information that is presented to the driver is more than a human brain can handle at a given time in terms of the quantity of information or its complexity (Chun, 2003). Thus, the road environment presents an array of perceptible information, but drivers notice and attend only to a small fraction of it (Hughes and Cole, 1986). Traffic crashes are a prominent killer among all drivers, and most prominent among those aged 15-24 (Shinar, 2007). However, the majority of people can drive for many years without being involved in a crash (approximately one crash every 10 years; Evans, 2004). The ability of drivers to cope with complex driving situations can be attributed to our sophisticated attentional mechanisms that help overcome the overload of information within a visual scene (Chun, 2003). In addition, operators in complex and dynamic environments, such as driving, use cognitive mechanisms to integrate important information from the environment and anticipate upcoming events, a capacity that is often referred to as Situation Awareness (Endsley, 1995a). By focusing on situations and their related concepts, the cognitive system simplifies many tasks such as recognizing objects and events and predicting actions of other agents. Additionally, since specific entities and events tend to occur in some situations more than others, capitalizing on such correlation-constraints facilitates processing (Yeh and Barsalou, 2006; see also Vicente and Wang, 1998).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of Applied Perception Research
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780511973017
ISBN (Print)9781107072909
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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