Supplementary data for the paper 'The effect of an occlusion-induced delay on braking behavior in critical situations: A driving simulator study'
Objective. To share results of an experiment that used visual occlusion for a new purpose: inducing a waiting time.
Background. Senders was a leading figure in human factors. In his research on the visual demands of driving, he used occlusion techniques.
Methods. In a simulator experiment, we examined how drivers brake for different levels of urgency and different visual conditions. In three blocks (1 = brake lights, 2 = no brake lights, 3 = occlusion), drivers followed a vehicle at 13.4 or 33.4 m distance. At certain moments, the lead vehicle decelerated moderately (1.7 m/s2) or strongly (6.5 m/s2). In the occlusion condition, the screens blanked for 0.4 s (if 6.5 m/s2) or 2.0 s (if 1.7 m/s2) when the lead vehicle started to decelerate. Participants were instructed to brake only after the occlusion ended.
Results. The lack of brake lights caused a delayed response. In the occlusion condition, drivers adapted to the instructed late braking by braking harder. However, adaptation was not always possible: In the most urgent condition, most participants collided with the lead vehicle because the ego-vehicle’s deceleration limits were reached. In non-urgent conditions, some drivers braked unnecessarily hard. Furthermore, while waiting until the occlusion cleared, some drivers lightly touched the brake pedal.
Conclusion. This experimental design demonstrates how drivers (sometimes fail to) adjust their braking behavior to the criticality of the situation.
Application. The phenomena of biomechanical readiness and (inappropriate) dosing of the brake pedal may be relevant to safety, traffic flow, and ADAS design.
- 2022-02-07 first online, published, posted
University of Toronto