Headway feedback improves intervehicular distance: A field study

David Shinar, Edna Schechtman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The effectiveness of a headway measuring and recording device was evaluated in terms of its ability to increase drivers' car-following distance. Forty-three drivers first drove for approximately 3 weeks without headway feedback and then for approximately 3 more weeks with immediate time headway (THW) feedback. Whenever the THW decreased to 1.2 s or less a red warning light came on, and whenever the THW decreased further to 0.8 s or less a buzzer was also sounded. The results showed that prior to receiving THW information, drivers drove at shorter headways than after they received that information. The effect of the feedback was to reduce the time spent in short headways (≤0.8 s) by approximately 25% (from 20% to 15% of the time) and to increase the time spent in safer longer headways (>1.2 s) by approximately 20% (from 57% to 65% of the time). The effect was similar for younger and older drivers, for male and female drivers, for urban and highway speeds, and for daytime and nighttime driving. An immediate application of these findings is to install headway feedback displays to drivers so that they may maintain safer headway distances than they do currently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-481
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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